The fastest woman in the world over 10km in 2019, Kenya’s Sheila Chepkirui, came to South Africa and conquered in emphatic fashion!
Chepkirui lived up to her billing as race favourite for the 2019 FNB Durban 10K CitySurfRun on Sunday 13 October 2019, when she took 4 seconds off the South African all-comers record to win in 30:55.
Chepkirui was bullish and confident on the start line, making it clear that she was here to run fast, and the gusting wind was not going to deter her.
True to her word, she, Evaline Chirchir and Beatrice Mutai went straight to the front of the race and drove the pace ahead of what is arguably the strongest ever field assembled in South Africa.
With five women under 32 minutes, one of whom has gone under 30 minutes and one under 31 minutes and a further four under 33 minutes, the women’s race was always going to take centre stage.
Chepkirui allowed Mutai and Chirchir to lead and ran cleverly, staying behind the pair for most of the race. Covering the first 5km in 15:26, the trio maintained the frenetic pace. Chepkirui made her presence felt at the 7.2km mark, putting in her first surge.
At 8.5km, Chepkirui threw in another surge and Mutai started to fade, but it was only in the final 500m that Chepkirui was able to open daylight between herself and Chirchir.
Chepkirui won in 30:55, ahead of Chirchir (30:57) and Beatrice Mutai (31:01). The first South African across the line was Glenrose Xaba, who took 14 seconds off her PB by finishing 5th in 32:45.
SA win in men’ race
Stephen Mokoka was finally able to win a 10km race on home soil, after taking control of the race with 2km to go.
Mokoka, who had finished 5th at the World Marathon Championships merely a week ago, relished the more tactical approach to the race taken by the lead men.
Race favourite, Uganda’s Stephen Kissa did much of the work to set the pace in the early stages of the race. A big lead pack went through 5km in 14:21, with Mokoka biding his time.
With 2km to go, Precious Mashele threw in a surge and split the field. As the men hit the promenade, Mokoka took control and strung the field out even further. Only Mashele, Kissa and Kibet went with the charge, but a final surge by Mokoka saw him emerge as the winner, crossing the line in 28:12, with Kissa second (28:16) and Kibet third (28:18).
“FNB would like to congratulate and express our sincere gratitude to our customers, families and athletes who took their time to partake in this highly competitive race in Durban. It’s great to see our runners demonstrating their commitment and endurance to the race each year. As we end off 2019, we look ahead and welcome you again in 2020 for another exciting instalment of the FNB Run Your City Series,” says Bonga Sebesho, Head of Sponsorships at FNB.
Photo credit: Tobias Ginsberg