Comrades record ‘best of my life’

2019-06-19 06:01
Gerda Steyn holds the Comrades Marathon trophy.Photo: Gerda Steyn Twitter Account

Gerda Steyn holds the Comrades Marathon trophy.Photo: Gerda Steyn Twitter Account

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Long distance runner Gerda Steyn regards winning the Comrades Marathon the greatest honour of her life.

Steyn (29) smashed the female record for the Comrades – coming in at under six hours, and it seemed effortless.

The victory still feels unreal, she says.

Steyn is just trying to soak it all in after her milestone last Sunday, 9 June.

The former Kovsie student had an incredible race, completing the 86,83 km race in a time of 05:58:54, which is a new record for women in the up-run of the stamina-demanding marathon. It is more than ten minutes faster than the 06:09:23 record set in 2006 by the Russian Elena Nurgalieva.

Steyn’s record was also the fourth fastest Comrades time ever by a female in the 94 year history of the race.

“Being the Comrades winner is the greatest honour of my life. Thank you to an entire nation for carrying me to the line. It feels like a dream,” says Steyn.

Steyn’s amazing win of the race, dubbed the Ultimate Human Race, rewrote the marathon’s history. She became the first woman in 30 years to win both the Comrades and Two Oceans in the same year. She also won the Two Oceans in 2018 and came second in the Comrades last year. Steyn, who studied Quantity Surveying and Construction Management at the University of the Free State (UFS) from 2009 to 2012, said the possibility of a record time was discussed beforehand.

“We felt it was possible, but it wasn’t my main goal right from the start of the race. At the halfway mark, I saw it was possible and I went for it.”According to Steyn, the media attention since her win is quite intense. “But I don’t complain. It is such an honour, so I do it with a smile.”

Prof. Francis Petersen, UFS rector and vice-chancellor, said Steyn, from Bothaville, is a proud ambassador of the university. “It is always important for me to see how our former students perform. I would like to congratulate her. Well done!”

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