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  • Writer's pictureMosibodi Whitehead

'I'm still shocked about my performance' - Glenrose Xaba moves into top 3 on SA All-Time 21km list

Updated: Jun 7, 2023

Glenrose Xaba made history when she finished in second place behind Kenya's Betty Chepkemoi (1:08:33) at the Nelson Mandela Bay Half Marathon on Saturday. Running in the colours of Athletics Gauteng North (AGN), the diminutive Xaba stopped the clock in 1:08:37 in what was the fastest time ever run by a South African woman on home soil. Her effort in on Pollock Beach Gqeberha also saw her leapfrog Collen de Reuck (1:08:38) and move into the top three on the SA All-Time list behind the great Elana Meyer (1:06:44) and Dominique Scott (1:07:32).

"I'm so happy! In fact I'm still shocked about my performance," she told #TheTopRunner shortly after slicing a whopping 49 seconds off her previous personal best. "I'm so happy. I actually don't really know what happened but I the confidence I had coming into the race really worked for me. I didn't even feel the race. I was so comfortable," she beamed on day when she also defended her national 21km title at the race which incorporated the ASA Half Marathon Championships.

Xaba chasing down Ethiopia's Bekelech Wariyo on her way to second place and a new personal best at the NMB Half Marathon. Photo Credit: Matt & Kyle Pearce. Photography.

The confidence that Xaba speaks about is borne out of the improving on her 10km personal best twice in two months. First the Puma Ambassador took 22 seconds off her previous 10km mark when she produced 32:23 at the Absa RUN YOUR CITY GQEBERHA 10K on the 2nd of April. Then a month last month, SuperCharger finished third behind the Ethiopian duo of Tadu Nare and Selam Gebre in 32:12 at the Gqeberha leg of the SPAR Grand Prix. She says her coach must take the credit.

"I think the coach's (Caster Semenya) method is working this year. We've been trying it for a long time to make sure that I'm strong during the last 5km. So I see now that what we have been practising in training is working when we apply it during the race," said the Boxer Athletic Club top runner.

Glenrose Xaba smashed her personal best dipping under 69 minutes for the first time to claim second place behind Kenya's Betty Chepkemoi won the race with Ethiopia's Bekelech Wariyo in third. Photo Credit: Matt & Kyle Pearce. Photography.

That Xaba was able to stay the course during difficult times last year when she was unable to break 70 minutes is testament to her determination and belief in her support team led by her coach Caster Semenya and partner Violet Raseboya. Her maiden 68 minute 21km performance means that the woman who originally hails from Mpumalanga will represent South Africa once again at the World Half Marathon Championships in Latvian city of Riga in October.

"I ran 69 minutes in 2021, but in 2022 I couldn't do it. I ran 70 minutes. I didn't lose hope because I knew that I wasn't in my best shape last year. My fitness was on and off and I also struggled with sickness. But if you have people supporting you that give you positivity you won't give up because you have a supportive structure. So I give the power to the One that looks after my health so that I am able to perform well and produce good results."

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