Gelant Olympic preparations on track after running 2:11:22 to win Retail Capital Ilanga Marathon
South Africa long-distance sensation Elroy Gelant says his preparations for the rescheduled 2021 Tokyo Olympics are on track after clocking 2:11:22 to win the Retail Capital Ilanga Marathon challenge in Cape Town yesterday. The event was hosted on a 3.2km loop at the Killarney International Raceway aimed to give athletes the chance to qualify for the Olympic Games.
The 34-year-old Boxer Athletics club suffered serious back injury last year that forced him to bail out of the London Marathon during the race. But his eye-popping come back which also saw him obtain two bronze medals in 5 000m and 10 000m events during ASA Track & Field Championships in April in Pretoria, point to an athlete in full fitness.
Gelant, who is the national record holder in 5 000m, is happy with his progress since returning from injury adding that the chosen route plus weather conditions were good for fast running. "The weather conditions were superb on the day as there was no wind at all," said the man who also works in the Human Resources department at the University of North West.
"The course was perfect for athletes to post good times as it was good for running. My aim coming here was to run 2:12 to see the progress I have made since I recovered from injury. We exchanged the lead nicely with the Lesotho athletes along the route. But I'm happy with the way I ran as I needed to have the feeling to run a marathon again and I didn't want to go too hard on myself. I treated this as a long run as there was no prize money and that made it look easy. And it's a huge morale boost heading to Tokyo Olympics," he said.
Gelant is one of three top runners that have been included in South Africa's Olympic team. Stephen Mokoka and Desmond Mokgobu are the other two male marathon athletes who were named by the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC) last week. The former Two Oceans Half Marathon winner aims to train hard in the remaining nine weeks in order to achieve his dream of winning a medal. Gelant says anything is possible at Olympics because the races are usually slightly slower and more tactical.
"I was so happy to be included in the Olympic squad announced last week," said a delighted Gelant. "It's a dream come true for every athlete. To represent my country again is nice as I competed in 5 000m in the 2016 Rio Olympics, where I made to the finals. It was tough but my preparations were on point. My target is to compete and train for a medal, as anything can happen in Olympics as most of the time the races are tactical. I will rest for two weeks to recover then I would do two long runs as part of my preparations for Tokyo. My training must be around medal hopeful," he concluded.