'The Absa Joburg 10k is where I run with everyone who supports me' - Steyn to run in Jozi before NYC
With the Cape Town and Durban legs done and dusted, the Absa RUN YOUR CITY series makes its final stop of 2022 in the City of Johannesburg. The Absa RUN YOUR CITY JOBURG 10k takes place on Saturday 24 September, returning to Jozi Maboneng for the first time since 2019. The darling of South African road running Gerda Steyn will line up in the elite starting batch aiming to put in a good performance before jetting off to the Big Apple to race the New York Marathon for a third time.
“I’m in Cape Town at the moment. I brought the beautiful weather with me. It’s sunny here in Cape Town. I’ll be finishing off all my training until the New York Marathon off here in South Africa. I’ll be splitting my time here between Cape Town and Johannesburg. But on the 24th of September there’s no place that I’d rather be than in the streets of Joburg. I’m really, really looking forward to that,” she said during an online broadcast ahead of the Absa RUN YOUR CITY JOBURG 10k.
One of the reasons that Steyn is so excited to be racing in The City of Gold because she is a notoriously strong hill runner. On a far more undulating course than we saw in Durban and Cape Town at 1600m above sea level, the only woman to break six hours on the Comrades Marathon Up Run (5:58:53 in 2019) can realistically aim at finishing on the podium against the shorter distance specialists. In 2019 for example, the Adidas runner was the first South African to cross the finish line in 34:31 as Ethiopia’s Tadu Nare won in 33:53.
“2019 was a great experience for me. It is just such a different experience and a different race because if you have been fortunate enough to run in Johannesburg especially in the CBD, you know that it’s very, very hilly. It’s up and down and it’s just relentless. It gives the race a real character and makes you approach the race in a totally different way because it’s not so much about going for a certain pace or a certain time. it’s just about tackling the hills as fast as you can and as well as you can and making sure that you’re still strong at the end. I think in 2019 I got that right and I hope that this year I will be able to stay the same.”
But ultimately, for the jet-setter who spends much of her time living and training abroad in Europe and The Gulf, she is most looking forward to just soaking in the electric atmosphere that is unique to Jozi. Because this is likely to be her last race on home soil before heading to New York to take on the East Africans and Americans, South Africa’s marathon national record holder (2:25:28) wants to spend Heritage Day simply enjoying Mzansi with her fellow runners.
“I’m targeting New York on the 6th of November and therefore the Joburg Absa 10k fitted in just perfectly for me. I did the same in 2019 and I think that the hills prepares me well for the marathon ahead because it’s also quite a hilly marathon. But it is a race abroad and most people won’t be able to experience it with me. So for me the Joburg 10k is where I run with everyone who supports me, everyone at home and we share the experience together. It’s more than just about running a time or certain position. It’s also about being present in the community that carries me when I have to go abroad and do the work on my own,” she smiled.