"I didn't expect to win SA 21km champs" - Glenrose Xaba
Where some elite Athletes are vocal about their preparations and predictions ahead of race day, Glenrose Xaba is different. She prefers to do her talking on the road. Xaba, who defended her SA Half Marathon title with a spectacular run of 69:30 in Gqeberha on Saturday is slowly becoming one of the country's best middle and long distance runners of her generation.
Despite starting 2021 nursing a calf injury which sidelined her for two months, the Boxer Running Club Athlete's came back with a bang when she clinched the 10 000m crown at the SA Track & Field Championships in April. But it was her second national title in two months shows that hinted at a versatile athlete in who is poised for bigger things. Xaba says she shocked herself when she finished as the first South African in the Nelson Mandela Half Marathon last weekend.
" I didn't expect to win SA Half Marathon Championship," says the diminutive runner in a cool and unhurried voice. "If you look at the competition from South African athletes it was tough, considering the likes of Gerda Steyn were running on the day. Steyn is coming from setting a new national marathon record and she is a wonderful athlete. But after 5km, I started to believe that I could be the first SA woman to cross the finish line. I'm happy now that I managed to perform especially because I didn't have much time to prepare for the race," she said.
The 26-year-old Mpumalanga born athlete has now won national titles in a number of different disciplines. She is the current 10 000m champion on the track, former SA 10km Champion on the road, and a former SA 10km Cross Country champion and she believes her fistful of accolades are not even close to her full potential.
"One thing about me is that I take any SA Championship seriously," explains 2018 Spar Women 10km Grand Prix, winner. "Remember, I have dominated over the short distances for quite some time before making a switch to test the half marathon in 2019 which I ran 71 minutes during SA Half ( Marathon) champs. The reason why I'm doing well over any distance is that I give myself time to adapt before rushing to another distance. I know I'm destined to be a good marathoner in the future but I think I must wait at least a year or two before I tackle it. I'm still young for now to jump to the marathon. So I must look after myself so I can achieve more in life," she concluded.