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  • Writer's pictureMosibodi Whitehead

'This is massive news for SA Sport' - World Record holder Yehualaw to run the Absa RYC DURBAN 10K

In securing the signature of Yalemzerf Yehualaw to compete in the Absa RUN YOUR CITY DURBAN 10K, organizers of the race have placed South Africa firmly on the map as one of the preferred destinations for the very best female 10km athletes that the world has to offer. Last year alone, Stella Chesang set an All-Comers Record and Ugandan National Record when she won the Absa RUN YOUR CITY CAPE TOWN 10K ahead of multiple world record holder Genzebe Dibaba, while Kenya's Jesca Chelangat announced herself to the world when she produced an eye-catching 30:41 to win the Absa RUN YOUR CITY DURBAN 10K.

This time around it will be the Ethiopian that will receive top billing when she lines up at the start line eThekwini on Sunday 9 July 2023 as the world record holder over the 10km distance. Yehualaw clocked a 29:14 in Spain on 27 February 2022 to set the World Record. This year, in Valencia, she missed her own World Record by a mere 5 seconds, clocking 29:19. Managing Director of Stillwater Sports and Founder of the Absa RUN YOUR CITY Series Michael Meyer says this is a huge achievement.

10km World Record holder Yehualaw who also took the bronze medal (1:05:19) at the 2020 World Half Marathon Championships will run the Absa RUN YOUR CITY DURBAN 10K. Photo Credit: Supplied.

"Not only is Yalemzerf Yehualaw’s entry into the Absa RUN YOUR CITY DURBAN 10K the highest point for the Series to date, but it’s also a fantastic accomplishment for South African sport. We’ve seen the level of South African middle-distance running improve immensely over the last couple of years. This can be attributed to the fact that SA’s elites are being given more opportunities to race against the world’s best athletes on home soil. With a world record behind her name, lovers of the sport will see the world’s best female runner compete in Durban. We can’t wait to welcome Yalemzerf to the start line, ready to make history."

The 23-year-old Ethiopian who also won the 2022 London Marathon on debut (2:17:26) is the latest in a string of international athletes who are World Champions, Olympic Champions or World Record Holders to descend on the Absa RUN YOUR CITY Series, with athletes like Joshua Cheptegei (2x World Record Holder, 2x World Champion and 1x Olympic Champion) and Daniel Ebenyo (Commonwealth and African Championships silver medalist) amongst others to have already raced in the series.

South Africa's Lebo Phalula and Gerda Steyn standing alongside Kenya's Jesca Chelangat and Lesotho's Neheng Khathala ahead of the 2022 Absa RUN YOUR CITY DURBAN 10K where Chelangat won in 30:41 and Phalula ran her fastest 10km in seven years. Photo Credit: Backtrack

It means that local athletes in particular will be benefit from running in fast races against the best in the world and the results have already started to come. By setting a new national 10km record (27:35) during the inaugural Absa RUN YOUR CITY GQEBERHA 10K, Precious Mashele finished just fourteen seconds behind Ebenyo and says in Durban he would like to go even faster in Durban. "I just want to run sub 28 again and maintain my consistency. The approach will be to run with the East Africans and finish on the podium or even win the race if possible with a new personal best if possible."

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