SA’s Gert Thys versus the world in comeback run

2011-01-21 00:00

GERT Thys, a multiple Olympian and one of South Africa’s greatest marathoners, lines up for the Standard Chartered Dubai marathon this morning and faces the might of the world in his bid to put his career back on track.

Thys, who recently finished second in the Beijing Marathon, is up against Eliud Kiptanui who heads a talented field featuring 14 other men who have all broken 2 hours ten minutes for 42 kilometres.

With a first prize of $250 000, the competition is sure to be fierce given that six runners have times better than 2:07. Kiptanui is tipped following his blistering 2:05:39 debut set in Prague last May. Chala Dechase (2:06:33) and Eshetu Wendimu (2:06:46) who finished second and third to Haile Gebrselassie return with Evans Cheruiyot making his comeback after injury that has sidelined him since his 2:06:05 victory in Chicago in 2008.

Add to the mix Deressa Chimsa (2:07:54), Sammy Mugo (2:08:20), Muguleta Wami (2:08:32), David Kemboi (2:08:34), Dereje Tesfaye (2:08:36) and Laban Kipkemboi (2:08:38), and the ingredients are there for the most open race in years at 7 am this morning.

Thys (39) has his work cut out, but he comes with a great pedigree having been the first man to run three sub 2:08 marathons. He is ranked in the top six in the world in the half marathon, and was the winner of the 1999 Tokyo marathon in 2:06:33, just 30 seconds off the world record.

The South African was disqualified and suspended following his Dong Marathon win in 2006 and has just returned to form; although he may not be in line for a win, a top ten finish today is not unlikely.

On paper he is one of the fastest in the field and, although that was 12 years ago, he is not scared to mix it with the younger athletes.

“My training times are the same as back when I was running really fast. So, we’ll see,” said an undaun­ted Thys at the media conference.

Former winners Berhane Adere and Askale Magarsa of Ethiopia lead the ladies rankings, while another four contenders have times below two hours 25 minutes and could cause an upset on the pancake-flat course in Dubai.

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.