Durban - Olympian Elroy Gelant is thrilled about the prospect of testing himself against some of the world’s best middle distance runners in an exciting new event on the South African road running calendar.
The organisers of the Cape Town 12 OneRun and the Joburg 10K CityRun launched the Durban 10K CitySurfRun on Tuesday night in Durban.
The inaugural fast and flat 10km race through the streets of Durban will be taking place later this year on Sunday, October 8 as part of the Run Your City series.
According to Gelant this is exactly what South Africa needs to boost middle distance running in South Africa.
Gelant, who ran a blistering 28.18 at the UWC 10km race in Cape Town two weeks ago, is busy preparing for the SA Half Marathon champs in Port Elizabeth on Saturday.
“Nowadays the trend is for runners to move on to the ultra-distance events like the Comrades marathon. The ultras make you slow, whereas these races cater for us because it places emphasis on the shorter distances.
“These races reward our efforts in terms of prize money and gives us the opportunity to compete against the best in the world on home soil. Racing these top guys at home makes us even hungrier,” says the 30-year-old from Pacaltsdorp in George.
“Last year after competing in the Cape Town 12, I went to the Netherlands and participated in an event there where I broke the South African 5 000m record. That shows what these kinds of races can do to us as track athletes,” he explains.
“The guys don’t come all the way from Kenya to come look at the beautiful beaches in South Africa. They come here to run and bring the best out of us. I have set good times over 5 000m and 10 000m in Durban before and I am looking forward to participating here again.
The Cape Town 12 OneRun is currently in its third year attracted 13 000 participants and the Joburg 10K City in its second year, 10 000.
Morris Gachaga, a 22-year-old from Kenya, smashed the previous world best on a point to point course over 12km by four seconds in the Mother City on May 21 this year.
Gachaga crossed the line in 33:27, eclipsing the 33:31 of Sammy Kitwara ran at the Bay to Breakers in San Francisco in May 2009. Namakoe Nkasi finished second (33:43) with Gelant (33:54) in third place.
Michael Meyer, managing director of Stillwater Sports who organises the series of races, says they are extremely excited to launch a third mass participation road run “with a twist”.
“The Durban 10K CitySurfRun route will be fast and flat,” says Meyer.
“Add to the mix near perfect weather conditions, our goal of making this the fastest 10km in the world becomes even more achievable. We will be targeting some big name athletes to race through the streets of Durban in October.
“South Africa’s best athletes will have another opportunity to race against the world’s best, ultimately uplifting the standard of South Africa’s middle distance running.
“We look forward to welcoming runners to an unforgettable event that encourages all to ‘Run the 031’.
“In addition to astonishing on route entertainment and rubbing shoulders with some of the world’s best middle distance runners, entrants will experience a 10km journey through the city, past a number of Durban’s iconic landmarks,” he adds.