Steyn stays grounded amid talk of an Olympic medal
As the Tokyo Olympics draw closer, many are beginning to believe that in Gerda Steyn, South Africa has a real medal prospect. Aside from her drive and commitment, it is Steyn's form that has in led pundits to believe that she can run her best marathon in Japan.
The Comrades and Two Oceans Marathon champion set a new personal best at last month's London Marathon (2:26:51), and that has given her hope to dream big ahead of the Tokyo Games. “I was fortunate to get a spot to run in the London marathon as it is not easy to get an invitation to run abroad these days due to the Covid-19 pandemic. I cannot wait to go to my first Olympic Games, and I am receiving a lot of calls from people telling me that I am capable of getting a medal. But I am aware that I have to stretch myself and work hard,” said Steyn.
Part of the reason why people believe she could become the first South African to win an Olympic Marathon medal since Josiah Thugwane in 1996 is that the ultra marathon queen has been improving over the short distances too. She took part in a 5000m race in Potchefstroom, North West, finishing on the podium in respectable time of 16:48. Although that was well below her own expectations, she was happy with the performance. "I loved the experience and learned a whole lot of lessons because the track is a different animal. I have learned that if you want to perform well on the track, you need to put the fast stuff down," she said in a Facebook post.
The Nedbank Running Club star is now off to the Middle East with her fiancee to join a training camp where she spent some time earlier this year. “I’m going to train in Dubai, where I can experience the weather that is suitable for my training. I had a lovely time in Dubai, and I am going back there again. It’s my second home. We are going back, and it is nice and warm, and it is an ideal place for me to prepare for what would be my big year in 2021. I will come back early next year,” an excited Steyn told #TheTopRunner.
She is in the company of Glenrose Xaba and Nolene Conrad in the marathon team.
The 30-year-old has achieved a lot in a short space of time in the sport. She said she would keep on working hard towards her dreams of being at the Olympic Games.