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  • Writer's pictureMosibodi Whitehead

SA Athletes to cash in for fast times at Absa RUN YOUR CITY DURBAN 10K

When Maxime Chaumeton finished fourth (27:58) at the Absa RUN YOUR CITY DURBAN 10K he not only earned the plaudits of the local and international distance running community for becoming the first South African to go sub 28 minutes on home soil, he also took home an impressive R100 000 in incentives. That milestone achievement set a new benchmark for SA athletes as his Zoo Lake Group training partner Precious Mashele later went on to set a new national 10km record (27:35) with Thabang Mosiako also finishing under 28 minutes (27:52) in the same race at the inaugural Absa RUN YOUR CITY GQEBERHA 10K in April.

This according to Michael Meyer, Managing Director of Stillwater Sports and Founder of the Absa RUN YOUR CITY Series, is irrefutable evidence of the positive impact that the 10km series is having on the standard of distance running in the country. "We have seen over the years how the standard of South African middle-distance running has improved at the Absa RUN YOUR CITY Series. The added incentives in 2022 in Durban saw the first South African break 28 min."

The Elite Mens’ field in action during the 2022 Absa RUN YOUR CITY DURBAN 10K. Nineteen SA men broke 29 minutes on that day, while Chaumeton ran 27:58. Photo Credit: Anthony Grote.

The statistics support Meyer's assertion. During the 2022 Absa DURBAN 10K nineteen men (thirteen South Africans) finished under 29 minutes, while in Gqeberha last month 22 men broke 29 minutes with thirteen South Africans once again producing 28 minute 10km clockings. Compare this to the days before the introduction of incentives for South African athletes and the results are plain to see. The 2019 DURBAN 10KM CITYSURF RUN as it was then known, was won by the legendary Stephen Mokoka in 28:12 with just sixteen men going beyond 29 minutes - only seven of whom were South African.

Those statistics mean that the Absa RUN YOUR CITY Series SA Athletics incentive scheme paid out a whopping R475 000,00 in bonuses last year. The standard is clearly rising which means that the time bonuses for SA athletes at the 2023 Absa RUN YOUR CITY DURBAN 10K must reflect that. This year's incentive structure will see South African men rewarded with bonuses for running faster than 28:30, culminating in a bonus of R 200 000,00 for a time under 27 minutes. So if for example, Mashele can break 27:30 on 9 July then he will run away with a handsome R120 000.

"Clearly the belief is there, and we hope with these incentives we will see even faster times here in South Africa, hopefully a sub-27 min 10km. The end effect we hope will be twofold, a continued raising of the standard of middle distance running in South Africa while ensuring that South African athletes can earn a good living without having to leave SA," Meyer explained.

Glenrose Xaba on her way to a new 10km PB at the inaugural Absa RUN YOUR CITY GQEBERHA 10K. She will be looking to become the first South African woman to run a sub 32 minute 10km on home soil. Photo Credit: Anthony Grote.

On the female side the incentives will start for times faster than 32:00, a time which is likely to be run by Glenrose Xaba. Having improved on her personal best in the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality in April, SuperCharger did it again when she clocked a new lifetime best of 32:12 during the Gqeberha leg of the SPAR Grand Prix on Saturday 27 May. In a race which will feature the amazing abilities of 10km World Record holder Yalemzerf Yehualaw, Xaba will be aiming to go with the fast pace and become the first South African woman to run a sub 32 minute 10km on home soil.

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