Cape Town - Nedbank Running Club athlete Gerda Steyn has declared her intention to take the title at the 94th Comrades Marathon between Durban and Pietermaritzburg on Sunday, June 9.
After narrowly missing the record in last month’s Two Oceans Marathon, Steyn has enjoyed a trouble-free training camp in the mountains of France, together with third place finisher from last year, Steve Way, and Anthony Clark, both running this year’s race in the colours of Nedbank Running Club.
“A lot of people asked me if I am disappointed at just missing the record in Two Oceans,” laughed Steyn.
“Looking back at it now it was a little bit sad to be so close but even with 8km to go, I told myself to save the legs because Comrades is my main focus of the year and I didn’t want to do too much damage.”
It’s a decision that Steyn hopes will pay dividends in this year’s event.
Last year’s winner Ann Ashworth comes into this race much faster than before, but it is the Up-run defending champion, Nedbank Running Club’s Camille Herron, who is hoping to defend her title.
A strong athlete with multiple world records, Herron is well known for her awkward running style that took her to victory in 2017.
Teaming up with her club mate Steyn, the two make a dangerous combination.
Throw in stalwart Fikile Mbuthuma and OMTOM gold medalist Ntombesintu Mfunzi who will be one to watch on her Comrades debut, the ‘Green Dream Team’ ladies will be a force on the route.
Adding to Nedbank’s Comrades debuts this year is Poland's Dominika Stelmach who had an unfortunate injury that forced her out of starting last year’s race.
After her fourth-place finish at this year’s Two Oceans, Stelmach is hungry to make an impression.
Also making a debut will be four-time World Ironman champion Chrissie Wellington. The 42-year-old English athlete ran 2 hours 51 minutes in this year’s London Marathon to qualify for Comrades which puts her in with a chance of a top 10 finish.
Carla Molinaro who represented Great Britain last year in the World 100km championships, but now has South African citizenship, will be another athlete looking for a top 10 finish after finishing ninth last year.
South African Deanne Horn is a newcomer in the ultra-marathon scene. She finished 42nd in her debut in 2017 and finished 15th last year and has represented South Africa in the World 100km championships. Together with team-mates Steyn, Mfunzi, Molinaro and Mbuthuma, the Nedbank ladies will be looking to take the team prize in this year’s race.
“We look forward to seeing our athlete’s takeover at Comrades. They’ve worked very hard this year and after Gerda’s beautiful finish at OMTOM, we know to expect an explosive finish at this year’s race," said Nedbank Sponsorship Manager Kelly Thompson.
With a host of experienced athletes and newcomers, the ladies Green Dream Team will be supported by a formidable men’s team as well as 900 other club members who will be out to put their best foot forward at Comrades 2019.