Elroy Gelant to lead men’s challenge at SA Cross Country Champs

2012-09-06 00:00

HUTCHINSON Park in Amanzimtoti will host the SA Cross Country Championships on Saturday, catering for all age groups, from U8 to over 75.

Senior and junior men and women vie for honours, with the men’s challenge led by Elroy Gelant.

He has enjoyed a solid year to date, earning respect by winning the SA Cross Country Trials in February and the SA 10 km Champs in Kimberley, in May. A fifth place at the SA Half Marathon Champs in Cape Town last month has him in prime shape to add another title to his accolades.

It won’t be easy for him, as Tshamano Setone, Stephen Mokoka and Xolisa Tyali, seasoned campaigners who enjoyed strong finishes last year, will be looking to up their game and finish top of the podium.

For the women, hot favourites for the title are the Phalula twins, Lebo and Lebogang, who are in prime shape for the event.

Lebo is the defending champ and comes into the race having won the trials in February and bagging second at the SA 10 km Champs.

Serious threats are Nolene Conrad and Mpho Mabuza.

They have been top finishers at previous championships, although Conrad knows she can do better than her seventh at the trials, where she finished well off the pace.

She has, however, regained form thanks to a good track and field season and, with a third at the SA Half Marathon Champs, could be a surprise package on the day.

She competes in road running and cross country events in the off season and is not lacking in race preparation.

Senior men take on a 12 km course, while the women take on the eight kilometre.

Junior men and women run eight kilometres and six kilometres respectively, with the course being a one or two kilometre loop.

Prize money is offered to the top four athletes in the senior and junior ranks, the winners receiving R2 000 and the next three positions R1 500, R1 000 and R500.

The first starting gun is at 8.45 am, with the final race at 4.20 pm.

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