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  • Mosibodi Whitehead

'The speed is still there!' - Gelant to use Absa RYC as part of training to run new SA 5000m record

Elroy Gelant has revealed that he is unlikely to run a marathon again in a while. The man who was the only South African man to finish last year's Olympic Marathon in 2:16:43 after the hot and humid conditions got the better of Stephen Mokoka and Desmond Mokgobu says he intends to spend 2022 focusing on the shorter distances. And after placing second behind Mbuleli Mthanga in the 10 000m (28:25.32) at the ASA Senior Track and Field Championships a fortnight ago, the 5000m national record holder (13:04.88) has now been named in the team that will represent the country at the CAA African Championships taking place in Mauritius from the 8th to the 12 of June.


But with that national 5000m record having been set five years ago and with a marathon lifetime best of 2:10:31 which he ran in Cape Town Marathon in September 2019 in order to qualify for #Tokyo2021, some suggest that Gelant may struggle against younger athletes on the track and should rather focus on 42,2km. But the 35-year old is of a different view, he believes he still has what it takes to be competitive over 25 and 12 and a half laps of the track.


The 2022 Absa RUN YOUR CITY Series will form an integral part of Elroy Gelant's preparations for an assault on his 5000m national record. Photo Credit: Tobias Ginsberg.

"It's all about the soul! In terms of my plan for the year I'm still targeting that 13:04 record. So my sets are set on going to Europe this year and doing the 5km and 10km. The speed is still there. Everything is still there, just add some experience and you can go for that sub 13," he said doing live online broadcast earlier this week where he was unveiled alongside Mokoka as one of an arsenal of top local runners who will take on the east Africans during the Absa RUN YOUR CITY CAPE TOWN 10K on the 15th of May.


Defending champion Daniel Simui Ebenyo destroyed the field on a windy day in The Mother City to win last year's 12km race, has confirmed that he will be coming back to run now that it is a 10km race. And the Kenyan is armed with an impressive brand new 10km personal best of 26:58 set in Valencia in January. With SA 10km champion Precious Mashele also in the field and Mokoka having run under 28 minutes on the road (27:38), Gelant believes he and the rest of the South Africans can run fast times over 10km if they work together.


Precious Mashele, Isaac Kimkemboi and Stephen Mokoka will also be in action in the Absa RUN YOUR CITY CAPE TOWN 10K. Photo Credit: Tobias Ginsberg.

"I think what is vital for next week is communication," he said echoing the sentiments of his fellow senior statesman Mokoka when asked about the possibility running his first sub 28 minute 10km clocking next week. "We need to speak before the time in terms of a game plan and pacing - before the time. I think that's what was missing on previous occasions where we just got into the race and it was every man for himself," he emphasized.


Gelant, Mokoka and Mashele will take on the likes of Isaac Kimkemboi who was second last year and Ethiopia’s Mogos Tuemay has gone 27:50 to name but a few. In the women's race defending champion Jesca Chelangat will be joined by Commonwealth Games 10 000m gold medalist Stella Chesang, Lesotho's 10km national record holder Neheng Khatala and the sensational young South African Tayla Kavanagh who set the road running scene alight when she won the Absa RUN YOUR CITY DURBAN 10K in 32:10 in just her first year as a senior athlete.

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