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  • Writer's pictureThathe Msimango

'I'm happy' - Gerda Steyn sets yet another record! This time at Om Die Dam.

Updated: Mar 17

South African road-running queen Gerda Steyn continued her excellent form when she set a new Trojan Om Die Dam 50km course record with a scintillating 3:16:16 run in Hartbeespoort this morning (Saturday 16 March) to win by over 20 minutes from Carol Smith (3:37:24) and Cobie Smith in third place (3:39:38). Steyn had no competition following the late withdrawal of two-time defending champion Adele Brookryk, and she took full advantage as she produced a stunning performance to shatter the 30-year record by set by the legendary Frith Van Der Merwe. More impressive is that Steyn finished in tenth place overall and will pocket R35 000 for the victory ( R25 000 for the winnings and an additional R10 000 for a record).

Perhaps even more astonishing is that the 34-year-old Phantane Athletics Club top runner won the Vaal Marathon title fortnight ago in another course record 2:43:50. "I'm pleased with the performance I managed to produce today. I think everything went according to the plan on the road and it was such a joy to run the race for the first time," said an elated Steyn.

Steyn on top of the pile again at the Trojan Om Die Dam 50km. Photo Credit: SMacPix.

"Before the race, the record was on my mind as I knew about it even though I didn't stress much about it. Whenever I enter a race, I target victory and also try by all means to improve. The records come as a result of how things went on the road. But as the race went on I knew my pace would guide me to the record. In the end, it came and I'm happy with the result today," said the women who broke both the Totalsports Two Oceans and Comrades Marathon Down Run records in 2023. 

With Two Oceans is a month away, Steyn is confident that she stands a chance to successfully defend her title. The woman who hold's the South African Marathon record with a splendid time of 2:24:03 set at the Valencia Marathon in December has won The World's Beautiful Ultra Marathon four times which includes last year's record run of 3:29:06. She told #TheTopRunner that winning Om Die Dam tells her that her preparations for the 56km around the Cape Peninsula in April are on track.

Steyn winning the Totalsports Two Oceans Marathon in a record time. Photo Credit: Totalsports Two Oceans Marathon Media.

"The reason I did this race was because it served as the preparation for the Two Oceans. So I think I'm on the right track to achieve good performance based on the level of fitness and the training I'm putting. I think a record at (Two Oceans) is possible with the quality field on the day. I think having good competition is a huge plus in terms of improving your times. You can't be a better athlete if you are scared of the challenge. So yeah, I'm going to do both Two Oceans and Comrades Marathon as I did last year and I think I'm capable." 

While the women's race produced fireworks, the men's race was a more sedate affair. With the Totalsports Two Oceans Marathon taking place in less than a month's time and the City2City 50km race scheduled for the end of March, some of the top Comrades contenders such as four-time gold medalist opted to use the 50km race around the Hartebeespoort Dam as a long training run. As a result no man could break the 3 hour barrier as the Nedbank Running Club's Pfarelo Mathada won in 3:01:03, while Entsika AC's Siya Mqambeli prevailed (3:05:35) over Eluid Biwott (3:05:40) in a duel for second place.

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