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  • Writer's pictureMosibodi Whitehead

IAU President to attend Nedbank Runified 50km as American CJ Albertson takes aim at Mokoka's 2:40:13

With a host of both local and international ultra marathon stars having confirmed their participation in the 2023 Nedbank Runified Breaking Barriers 50km race taking place later this month, the President of the International Association of Ultrarunners Nadeem Khan has cleared his schedule to make sure that he is also present at the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality to witness the action firsthand on 26 February.

"Good races have certain aspects in common - good organization, good strategy and good visionaries laying down the path to the future and the Nedbank Runified 50km has certainly all these aspects in place - and their vision of a fast competitive event where records are broken has become a reality in the first two editions." Khan is of course referring to the World Records that were set by Ethiopia's Ketema Negasa (2:42:07) and South Africa's Irvette van Zyl in 2021 (3:04:23), only for Negasa's mark to be eclipsed by local hero Stephen Mokoka last year.

CJ Albertson in action at the Boston Marathon. The American famously led the 2021 edition of the World Marathon Major Race for more than 30km before finishing in tenth place in 2:11:44. Photo Credit: Brooks Running.

And although Mokoka will not be able to defend his title because he has committed to racing a marathon in Asia on the same weekend, do not rule out the possibility of another world record being broken on the pancake flat 5 x 10km loop run along Pollock Beach in Gqberha. That's because America's CJ Albertson has confirmed is coming to the the Eastern Cape with one thing on his mind.

The 29-year-old who is the holder of a 2:10:52 marathon personal best which he set in June last year. What's more, he has actually run faster than Mokoka's 2:40:13. The former 3000m steeplechaser who also took 13th place at last year's Boston Marathon (2:10:23) produced a mercurial performance when he ran 2:38:43 in San Fransisco last October to set a new 50km World Record. Even though the mark is yet to be officially ratified, It is these sorts of athletes that excite Khan who is looking forward to the prospect of yet another mouthwatering encounter.

President of the IAU Nadeem Khan (centre) poses with the top three finishers at the 2018 IAU 100km Championships in Croatia. South Africa's Bong'musa Mthembu took the bronze medal in 6:33:47 as Japan's Hideaki Yamauchi won the race in 6:28:05. Photo Credit: Supplied.

"I want to thank the organizers of the Nedbank 50km for the invitation to attend this year's edition," said an excited Khan. “The race has brought some outstanding performances in the previous two editions, and I am looking forward to seeing that momentum carry over to this year's event as well. The entrance of top marathon runners has brought faster times to this distance and made a mark in lowering that world record and the Nedbank 50km have done a tremendous job in that regard - inviting top runners to a very well-organized event," he said.

And with sub 2:09 marathoner Melikhaya Frans set to pace at world record tempo to 30km, anything is possible. The event will also have an added incentive in that an official timing mat will be placed at the 42,195km mark affording athletes to also register Olympic and World Championship qualifying times. The Nedbank Runified Breaking Barriers 50km is a by-invitation-only elite event, attracting world class runners from around the World. With over R1 million up for grabs in prize money and incentives, fans of the sport can also watch the action live with the event being televised by SuperSport.

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