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  • Writer's pictureMosibodi Whitehead

Elroy Gelant officially named in Olympic team and praises Absa RYC for raising the standard of SA Road Running

After being officially named in the latest iteration of the SA Olympic team, Elroy Gelant is upbeat ahead of his third consecutive Olympic appearance. In order to earn his spot tat #Paris2024 for which he qualified on the basis of his world ranking, the 37-year-old was forced to produce the best form of a career spanning over 15 years. Gelant improved on several lifetime bests starting with a 1:00:56 run over the half marathon at the 2023 World Road Running Championships last October, where he dipped under 61 minutes for the very first time.

"My performance over the last six months is just a blessing. But what made it more special was the bronze medal we earned as a team at the World Road Running Championships in Riga. That served as a motivation for my PB over the marathon this year," he explained.

Elroy Gelant in action during the Absa RUN YOUR CITY CAPE TOWN 10K in May 2024 where he produced a personal best 27:54. Photo Credit: Mark Sampson

This year the man who is coached by Jean Verster at the University of the North West, improved on his marathon PB when he clocked 2:08:56 at the Sevilla Marathon in Spain in February, to miss out on automatic qualification by just 46 seconds. This was followed by a maiden sub 28 minute 10km at the Absa RUN YOUR CITY CAPE TOWN 10K where he claimed a celebrated second place. Inspired by Precious Mashele’s 27:35 national record at the Absa RUN YOUR CITY GQEBERHA 10K last year, Gelant has singled out the series as an important step in his own Olympic journey and a valuable tool for improving the standard of local road running.

"Our current generation of athletes are phenomenal. I think last year in PE was a good eye opener to show that we can dip under 28 minutes. And I think that there’s going to be one or two more that will be motivated by these performances to run that sub 28. This is good because ultimately that will improve our performances as long distance athletes in South Africa. I’m looking forward to the Absa RUN YOUR CITY SERIES, not just for myself but for all of our long distance athletes," he said ahead of the Absa RUN YOUR CITY DURBAN 10K on 7 July where he will run one of his last pre-Olympic races.

All that’s left is for the reigning SA Marathon and Half Marathon Champion to lineup alongside compatriot Stephen Mokoka to take on the East Africans, in what will be his second Olympic Marathon appearance on the 10th of August. Gelant says the last twelve months have shown him that anything is possible.

Stephen Mokoka in action during the Absa RUN YOUR CITY CAPE TOWN 10K in May. He will race the Absa DURBAN 10K on 7 July as his last race before taking part in his fourth Olympic Games. Photo Credit: Action Photo.

"I'm looking forward to the rest of this year. To have run three PB’s in the 21km, the 10km as well as the marathon is just a blessing for me, especially at this age. It really serves as a motivation for me to do better going forward and it really showcased my capabilities that I can achieve what I put my mind to," he said.

Gelant and fellow Olympian Stephen Mokoka will be in action at the Absa RUN YOUR CITY DURBAN 10K on 7 July.

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