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  • Writer's pictureMosibodi Whitehead

'The plan that we have with the coach is working' - 10 000m champ Xaba now looks to Absa RYC Success

Glenrose Xaba started to tear up as she opened up about how tough it was to get through 2021. Because of the injury problems she had contend with in the early part of the year, the Boxer Athletic Club top runner failed to qualify for the Olympic Games and didn't manage to finish higher than fourth place in any of the SPAR Grand Prix Series races that she had dominated in 2018. When asked if she ever considered giving, Xaba said Caster Semenya's bravery had inspired her to keep going.

"It's because I have the backing of a person that did not give up on her life," said Xaba of her coach, mentor and training partner Semenya. "She had many challenges, so why should I give up? The only thing I need to do is focus on myself and work very hard," she told those tuned into the live online conference on the Cape Town 10k social media pages which are broadcast every Wednesday in the build up to the first Absa RUN YOUR CITY CAPE TOWN 10K race on the 15th of May in The Mother City.

Puma ambassadors Xaba and Precious Mashele both defended their 10 000m and 5 000m SA titles respectively. Photo credit: Tobias Ginsberg.

That patience is paying off because the Puma sponsored athlete is now fourth on the all-time list of South African 10 000m female performers. Only Elana Meyer (30:52.51), Dominique Scott (31:00.10) and Colleen de Reuck (31:56.00) have ever run faster than Xaba did at the ASA Senior Track and Field Championships on Saturday. Paced Semenya over the first six kilometres, the diminutive SA half marathon champion exploded into action over the final four kilometres lapping all but second placed Cian Oldknow to smash personal best by just over 10 seconds (32:31.49) to defend her title.

"I think the plan that we have with the coach is working. I had many injuries, so we decided that I have to do more strength exercises so that my body won't be fragile when I'm fit. So, I think now my body is very strong because I am able to do all the sessions without breaking down. Even if I have a small niggle, I'm still able to to train unlike before. It's because I'm sticking to the exercises and I have a good support system around me to make sure my body is responding very well all the time," said the 5-time national 10 000m champion.

Xaba and Semenya discuss strategy during a workout at the University of Pretoria. Photo Credit: BLD Communications.

Part of that hard work means using the 2022 Absa RUN YOUR CITY SERIES as a springboard to securing a spot a major global championships. And with the event organisers having secured big international names such as Commonwealth Games 10 000m gold medalist Stella Chesang of Uganda, defending champion Jesca Chelangat of Kenya and reigning SA 10km champion Tayla Kavanagh, Xaba has every confidence that she will be able to run faster times over 10km this year.

"They are going to run a fast pace. The aim is to go with them and see how long I can handle the pace. Maybe I can even win the race. I believe in myself since now I'm feeling very strong and positive. I'm ready to participate in the Absa RUN YOUR CITY SERIES and use them to try and qualify for the Commonwealth Games or World Championships," she concluded.

If like Glenrose Xaba you are contender for the prize purse in Cape Town on the 15th of May, then you must enter the race by Friday 29 April (tomorrow) in order to be eligible to win prize money. The applies to all the age category prizes as well. Enter HERE.

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