'I think I'm in much better shape' - Elroy Gelant looks to bounce back at Absa RYC GQEBERHA 10K
Although he finished in 38th place, Elroy Gelant's performance at last month's World Cross Country Championships in Bathurst, Australia showed that he is a runner of world class ability. The 36-year-old ran toe to toe with world record holders Jacob Kiplimo and Joshua Cheptegei for one lap of the two kilometre looped 10km course, demonstrating that he was comfortable running with the best in the world got off to a fast start. That he was unable to stay up there for the whole race has not left Gelant disappointed, in fact he is optimistic saying it bodes well for the season ahead.
“Preparations started off really well especially preparing for the World Cross Country Championships, but my body didn’t really respond in Australia and I think its because of the base training and the mileage. I think I’m in much better shape than the previous times before the Absa 10k races," he explained.
Those sentiments suggest that the Boxer Athletic Club top runner acknowledges that he may not have been in the best of form during the 2022 Absa RUN YOUR CITY series. The holder of a 28:18 10km personal best set back in 2017 in Cape Town, could only manage 29:46 as his season's best which was run at last year's Absa RUN YOUR CITY CAPE TOWN 10K. But Gelant believes that the training he did ahed of the World Cross Country Champs will payoff in the Absa RYC series this year.
“I’m really looking forward to a fast time, especially with some of the speed work that we have been doing preparing for the track,” said the 5000m national record holder (13:04.88) who took the silver medal over 10 000m at last year’s ASA Senior Track and Field Championships. “So I’m actually looking forward to the opening in Gqeberha and my target will be a sub 28:30. I’ll be satisfied with that looking at the season ahead. That’s the goal.”
It's a modest target for a man who stood on the podium when he took third place (33:54) at the Cape Town 12 ONERUN in 2017 in a race where Kenya's Morris Gachaga set a world best. And that's ultimately why the double Olympian loves the series and will be running the Absa RUN YOUR CITY GQEBERHA 10K this Sunday - because it brings the very best runners to South African shores giving local athletes the opportunity to test themselves against the best.
“The Absa races are close to my heart because myself and Stephen (Mokoka) we started off with the first RUN YOUR CITY 12km races down in Cape Town. So it’s something close to my heart and we are like family. Secondly I would say its the best organised race in South Africa. And then it provides us as South Africans with the opportunity to really showcase out talent and really run fast. The Absa races attract world class athletes who we can actually test ourselves against.”