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  • Writer's pictureThathe Msimango

'I'm praying for good weather' - Gelant to wrap up Olympic preparations at Absa DURBAN 10K

Legendary South African distance runner Elroy Gelant plans to use tomorrow’s Absa RUN YOUR CITY DURBAN 10K as a crucial step in finalizing his preparations before heading to the Paris Olympics later this month. "I have done well to prepare for this race. So I’m praying for good weather conditions in order to have a solid performance," said Gelant.

Already a two-time Olympian, Gelant will compete in his second Olympic marathon next month. This year, he has been in outstanding form, achieving lifetime best times over 42.2km and 10km. His impressive 27:54 finish for second place at the Absa RUN YOUR CITY DURBAN 10K in May made him South Africa’s sixth athlete to break the 28-minute barrier for 10km on home soil. Although he is one of the contenders to win the race on Sunday, the Boxer Athletics Club top runner says he must be a little cautious ahead of his third Olympic appearance. 

Gelant is looking forward to his last fast 10km race before taking on the Olympic Marathon in August. Photo Credit: Absa RUN YOUR CITY Series.

"I’m not aiming for a very fast time or to dip under 28 minutes like in Cape Town. If I could produce 28:10 or 28:20, I’ll be much happier. I don’t want to go hard as it might mess with my Marathon which is in 5 weeks’ time. This race is crucial for building the final strength needed ahead of the Olympics. It’s all about striking the balance so I don’t end up coming to the Olympics with the fatigue."

Gelant will take on fellow Olympic marathoner Stephen Mokoka as well as SA 10km record holder (27:35) Precious Mashele and the race’s defending champion Kabelo Mulaudzi.

In the women’s race all eyes will be on Judith Kiyeng. Now 30 years old, the women who represented Kenya over 1500m at the 2016 African Championships in Durban, has stepped up in distance and is proving to be a more than useful 10km runner. In just her first year as a 10km athlete, the East African ran 31:10 to win the 2022 Kiprun Race 10km in Lille, France - a mark which remains her personal best. In coming to the Absa RUN YOUR CITY DURBAN 10K Kiyeng, who trains alongside Faith Kipyegon, is aiming to dip under 31 minutes for the first time.

From left to right: Judith Kiyeng (Kenya), Glenrose Xaba and Neheng Khatala (Lesotho). Photo Credit: Absa RUN YOUR CITY Series

“I’m hoping to run a good race on Sunday and to improve my time - maybe to run under 31. If my body will respond well on Sunday, I know it’s possible,” said Kiyeng. South Africa’s Glenrose Xaba who broke 32 minutes for only the second time in her career just two weeks ago will lead the South African charge, while Lesotho’s Neheng Khatala who took second at the Absa RUN YOUR CITY CAPE TOWN 10K in May is targeting another podium finish.

Absa’s Head of Sponsorships, Jabulile Nsibanyoni states: "We look forward to seeing you at the starting line of the Absa RUN YOUR CITY DURBAN 10K. The vibrant tapestry of our community is enhanced by your presence and stories, whether you’re a seasoned runner, casual jogger, or enthusiastic spectator. We encourage you to join our R1 campaign by running or walking with us, this initiative is designed to make a real impact on communities throughout South Africa. Whenever a Team Absa member logs a kilometre on Strava, we will donate R1 towards community upliftment, reinforcing our commitment to positive change. Be sure to sign up and follow Team Absa Walk/Run on Strava to start tracking your kilometres and be part of this impactful journey."

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