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  • Writer's pictureMosibodi Whitehead

'I want to run fast for 10km again' - Cornelia Joubert to tackle Fortress Running Series Evaton Mall

After making a name for herself as South Africa's youngest ever female marathon champion, Cornelia Joubert has stepped away from the long distances to focus on building her speed. A 33:46 10km performer at her best with a national 10 000m title to boot, Jourbert has struggled to recapture the form which saw her take third place at the 2015 Nelson Mandela Bay Half Marathon in 1:12:37 to earn a spot on the team that represented the country at the World Half Marathon Championships. She says her success during her early and mid twenties was built on her training as a junior.

"I started running at school," she told #TheTopRunner. "I only really started performing when I was thirteen years old. From U14 I only ran on the track and didn't do any road races. I started running road races when I was sixteen," explained the woman who hails from Randfontein on the west of Johannesburg.

Joubert in action during the Mbombela leg of the SPAR Women's Grand Prix where she finished in 11th position. Photo Credit: Supplied.

The Boxer Athletic Club top runner has fond memories of her 2013 triumph in Oudtshoorn when she crossed the finish line in 2:46:13 to win her maiden national title. In fact 2013 proved to be a magical year for her because four months after that victory, she won the Mon Choisy Orange International Marathon in Mauritius in a time of 2:39:37 which remains the best 42,2km performance of her career. In effort to rediscover that form, the 35-year-old has decided to focus on running shorter distances for a while before returning to the marathon.

"Winning that SA title was the highlight of my career so far because I was the youngest to do it and that's something I'll always have. But I have now downgraded to run 10km and my body is already feeling better. I just want to get my times down and run as fast I was before I started racing marathons and half marathons. Things are going so much better and if I can just stick to my plan and build my speed then I'm confident that my running will get even better," said the woman whose best marathon performance of the year was a 2:51:20 finish at the Durban International Marathon in February.

Joubert tucked in behind eventual winner Irvette van Zy at the Totalsports Women's Race in Johannesburg where she took fourth place. Photo Credit: Stillwater Sports.

The decision to focus on speed is already paying dividends. Joubert took fourth place at the Joburg leg of the Totalsports Women's Race which took place on Women's Day. Her time of 38:01 on a hilly route through the Johannesburg suburb of Emmerentia was her second best 10km performance of the season after she produced 37:19 during the Mbombela leg of the SPAR Grand Prix on 15 July. Encouraged by her recent performances over 10km, the SA 10km Championship silver medalist says she will be taking part in the Fortress Running Series race in Evaton on Sunday.

"I'm last year's winner in the 21.1km at the fortress race the Evaton Mall. I enjoy my running a lot it because helps with sleep, stress and anxiety. I like hilly routes because my strength is running uphill. I'm training to take on a number of 10km races in August and October. I really love to support the Fortress Running Series races because they are well organized and the vibe is great."

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