'It gives me confidence that I can go to the Olympics again' - Nzima wins Outsurance Gun Run
After finishing just one second off his lifetime best when he took seventh place at the Hollywoodbets Durban 10k a fortnight ago, Sibusiso Nzima knew that he was in good shape when he lined up for the Outsurance Gun Run in Cape Town yesterday. That 28:30 clocking which almost eclipsed a 10km career best which has stood since 2011 signalled the return to form of a man who represented South Africa in the marathon at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio. And the Murray and Roberts Running Club top runner capitalised on that form by pocketing R25 000 when he won the Gun Run in 1:03:49.
"This year is going well and I'm so grateful because things didn't start well I struggled with illness of the first six months" he told #TheTopRunner at the Greenpoint Common moments after beating second placed Reghen Magwai (1:04:17) and local favourite Anthony Timoteus (1:04:37). "But I think that time off worked in my favour because the training was going well but I just wasn't competitive in races. But I'm so happy that my body is responding well and I still feel like I'm 22 or 23 years old."
It's an encouraging revelation from a man who won his first national 10km title over a decade ago and will be 37 years old in November. The Asics man also produced a new 21km personal best of 1:01:38 at the Nelson Mandela Bay Half Marathon last year, which has caused him to rethink his plans to move up to the ultra marathons. In fact, his 2023 half marathon form in particular, underlined by victories at the Outsurance Gun Run and the Isuzu Impact Run in Johannesburg in early August, have got Nzima believing that he can still make an impact on the global stage.
"Since all these young guys have come into the sport and they are in peak fitness, I'm impressed that I'm still competitive against them. That gives me confidence that I can try to qualify for the Olympic Games once more. My confidence is back because if I can run one second off my 10km PB like the way I was doing around 2010, then it shows that my body is still capable."
In the women's race ultra marathon star Carla Molinaro was untouchable. The woman who took third place at both the Comrades Marathon and the Totalsports Two Oceans Marathon won the race in 1:17:39 to defeat former SA Half Marathon Champion Zintle Xiniwe (1:19:36) by almost two minutes. The last place on the podium went to a fast finishing Mia Steytler of Tyme Bank Langa AC who showed good conditioning and consistency to take third place (1:19:39) at the Gun Run, less than 24 hours after claiming fifth place (38:57) for Western Province Athletics (WPA) in the senior women's 10km race at the national Cross Country Championships in Gqeberha.