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  • Writer's pictureThathe Msimango

'I have never raced a marathon on home soil. It feels like I'm finally coming home' - Gerda Steyn

South African running sensation Gerda Steyn will line up for her first-ever Marathon on home soil when taking part in the Sanlam Cape Town Marathon (SCTM) on the 17th of October. The reigning Comrades Marathon champion has been added to a star-studded lineup of elite athletes that were announced by race organizers last week. The woman who took 15th place in the marathon at the recent Tokyo Olympics says she has dreamt about being included in the Gold Label status race like this for a long time.

"I have always wanted to run the Cape Town Marathon, but it has never been possible because of other race commitments," said an elated Steyn.

Steyn running the SPAR Women's 10km Grand Prix Series which she has been using to sharpen up ahead of the Cape Town Marathon. Photo Credit: Rogan Ward.

"This year, I just couldn't let the invitation to run the SCTM go!!! I have never raced a marathon on home soil and I can't think of a better time to do it than now. I have always been overwhelmed with home support whenever I have raced abroad, and running the Cape Town Marathon feels like I am finally coming home. It is even more exciting knowing that thousands of runners will be toeing the line with me, which is quite a change to the elite-only "pandemic" races I have competed in for the past two years," she explained.

Despite carrying a favourite tag heading to the race day, Steyn who is a SA Marathon record holder ( 2:25:28) believes she doesn't have too much pressure because she is taking on top runners athletes around the world. "I do have pressure to do well, but pressure doesn't necessarily have to be a negative thing," said the Nedbank Running Club Athlete

Steyn in action at #Tokyo2021. Photo Credit: Gerda Steyn.

"Pressure is needed to perform well, and to outperform your own expectations you need to have a reason bigger than yourself to push you to your limits. In my case, it's to do well in front of everyone supporting me and wanting to see me succeed. I have stood on start lines with some of the best female athletes in the world and it's always an honour, how ever nerve-wracking it is. The Cape Town Marathon will be no different and I am really excited to line up against very strong competition," said the first woman to break six hours on the Comrades Up-Run.

The 31-year-old former Two Oceans Marathon winner remains ambitions and believes that she can run a good time in The Mother City. "My hopes for Cape Town Marathon is to combine the experience I have gained from different races in the past two years to run my best race. I want to improve on my personal best time but I also want to run a "smart" race. Time on the clock is only half the challenge: racing and responding to your competitors, knowing when to make the correct moves are just as important especially when going for medal positions," she concluded.

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