'I don't believe in luck, I believe in hard work' - Ebenyo after winning a windy Absa CAPE TOWN 12k
When asked for a word of advice about how a social runner could transform into an elite performer like him, Daniel Simui Ebenyo's message was simple; discipline, respect for one's time and hard work are key. This is the recipe for success that led the Kenyan to the 2021 Absa CAPE TOWN 12K CITYRUN title as he led from gun to tape during this morning's race. In only his third year as an international runner, the confident 26-year old said although he had hoped to break the course record (33:27 held by Morris Gachaga) which is also the world best time, the blustery conditions put an end to that.
"I just weigh 52 kilograms," he said during the post-race press conference. "The wind was very crazy. The wind was pushing me back. The first kilometre went well but about 200m into the second kilometre I saw everyone starting to hang back. I called Morris, but Morris was not responding. So I said let me move, let me push alone and see if they will come. But I knew that Morris and Mokoka had run a marathon and I've never stepped on a marathon. I knew they will not be able to stay with my pace," said the only man in the field to have broken 28 minutes for 10km this year.
Ebenyo would not be caught. He went on to cross the finish line in 34:01, 41 seconds ahead of compatriot Isaac Kipkemoi who out sprinted the first South African Stephen Mokoka (34:45) as Gachaga faded into twelfth place with SA 10km champion Precious Mashele in ninth. "My aim was to go for the world best. I've just missed it slightly, slightly but it's still disturbing my brain. Let me come next year, if I will be invited I will be very happy," said the Olympian.
While the end of the Absa CAPE TOWN 12K CITYRUN signalled the end of the season for most of the competitors, Ebenyo says he still has more work to do before ushering in the New Year. "2021 has been good, but I'm not ready to quit 2021 early. We have 30 virgin days that we have not broken in December. Maybe in December I will go overseas, maybe I can run a 10km where I am planning to run under 27 minutes before the end of the year. I don't believe in luck, I believe in hard work," he concluded.
The women's race was won by Kenya's Jesca Chelangat (40:01) with Neheng Khathala of Lesotho in second (40:15) and Diana Chesang in third (40:25). Chelangat was overjoyed with victory and says she hopes to return to The Mother City in 2022. "I was so happy because I was not expecting to win the race," she said.