After a brief stint back in SA to race the South African half marathon championships in July, Comrades and Two Oceans champion Gerda Steyn will return from her international training camp to set a few blistering 10km times on home soil.
After setting a half marathon PB of 1:11:53 at the Nelson Mandela Bay ASA Half Marathon championships, this Biogen-fuelled athlete has set her sights on the final two events in the FNB Run Your City Series.
Sharpening up her speed
“When I was asked to run the New York Marathon again this year, I immediately put the two FNB races on my schedule,” said Steyn, from her training base, Sainte-Foy-Tarentaise in the South East of France.
Steyn will use the races as preparation for a marathon PB in New York in November. Gerda plans to head back to South Africa for the Joburg and Durban races, followed by a short visit to Lesotho for an altitude training camp before heading off to New York.
Fast time expected in Durban
“I have had an incredible year. My training is going really well and I am gunning for a PB in NY. So the FNB Durban 10K CitySurfRun will be my final fitness test. That is why I want a PB there.”
Steyn took a minute off her previous PB in the 10km in Durban last year when she finished 5th overall, clocking 33:36. The target was a sub 34 for Steyn, which would have improved her previous best time of 34:35 by just over 30 seconds.
“I know the course is fast and that the race is fast (in Durban). I will go out fast, like I did in 2018 and then try to hang as best I can. Isn’t that how you run a 10km?”
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Taking on Joburg’s challenging course
The then 28-year-old surprised all and sundry when she finished second in the FNB Joburg 10K CityRun in September 2018. It is a tough course with some tough climbs. Clearly this played into the hands of Steyn. But she has no expectations for the race in 2019, other than to run it hard.
“It is a tough course. It is at altitude. So it’s not about time for me there, it is about how the body handles the punishment. I will do a sharpening up period of about two weeks for the Joburg and Durban races. I always do that before any race.”
Steyn has high expectations for the second half of 2019 after the incredible first six months. “Had you asked me at the beginning of the year if I expected to have had such a great 2019, I would have been surprised. I knew that I was in better shape than in 2018. All the training showed that but such improvements? No. I did not expect that.”
Be part of the action
Each of these exhilarating mass participation road races celebrate the splendour of its host city. Runners (and walkers) will be treated to a journey that will highlight iconic landmarks and feature lively performances on route.
Over the short period of 5 years, the series has grown to over 40,000 runners in the three cities and has attained IAAF Bronze Label Status in two events. The Durban race is now chasing Gold Label status.
Over the past 5 years, the series has delivered compelling racing and fast times which will now be shared with the world through the process of a Livestream. The FNB Durban 10K CitySurfRun will be live-streamed as was the Cape Town leg of the FNB Run Your City Series.
Photo Credit: Tobias Ginsberg