'I don't care who they bring' - Frans aims to win as Kibet looks for 27 mins at Absa GQEBERHA 10K
Boasting an impressive combined prize purse of over R1,5 million, the 2023 Absa RUN YOUR CITY series is attracting some of the African continent's finest athletes to come and compete in South Africa. 27:41 10km runner Isaac Kibet is one of those top East African runners that has confirmed his participation in the first race of five which takes place in the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality in less than a month's time. The Ugandan says he is aiming to run even faster at the Absa RUN YOUR CITY GQEBERHA 10K on the 2nd of April.
"I'm looking forward to running a much better time. I'm thinking to run 27 minutes," said the man who recently represented his country at the World Cross Country Championships in Bathurst, Australia where he took 24th position in 31:12.
Last July Kibet took part in Absa RUN YOUR CITY DURBAN 10k where he just missed out on securing what would have been only the second sub 28 minute 10km clocking of his career. Instead the 26-year-old had to settle for 28:03 as he took fifth position in a race where Maxime Chaumeton became the first South African athlete to produce a 27-minute 10km on SA soil. Kibet has learned from that and says this time around he will do all he can to finish inside the top three.
"This race is a wonderful race - very powerful. It's recognized in the world that's why I enjoy running Absa. The city is beautiful and the coast is also nice. This will be my second time. I enjoyed the other time, but this time I'm going to be better. My strategy is just to continue running how I have been running and winning. A podium finish would be good for me," he explained.
But whether or not he will be allowed to finish on the podium is another question because local hero Melikhaya Frans says his aim is to win the race for the people of Gqeberha. Absent from the Absa RUN YOUR CITY DURBAN 10K because he was at the World Championships in Oregon where he ran a lifetime best 2:09:24 for the marathon, the Ikhamva Athletics Club says he'll be very difficult to beat at home.
"I'm excited that the Absa RUN YOUR CITY series is also coming to PE now because it was always my wish for us to have a race like this here. I don't care who they bring, I know that I will win the race because when I run at home I always feel so strong," he said.