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Gerda Steyn will raise standard of competition at SPAR 10km Grand Prix Series in Durban

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Gerda Steyn’s participation in the second leg of the SPAR Women’s 10km Grand Prix Series in Durban is bound to see the standard of the competition rise-up a notch.

Gerda Steyn wins the Total Sport Two Oceans Marathon with tie 3:29: 42, breaking a 30 year old record
Gerda Steyn wins the Total Sport Two Oceans Marathon with tie 3:29:42, breaking a 30-year old record. File Picture: Phando Jikelo, African News Agency (ANA)

Johannesburg — Though she has said she will be using the race as preparation for the next one she will be running in July, Gerda Steyn’s participation in the second leg of the SPAR Women’s 10km Grand Prix Series in Durban on Sunday is bound to see the standard of the competition rise-up a notch.

Steyn’s achievements in recent years have been such that she is always a favourite for every race she lines up for, the fact that the shorter distances are not her forte notwithstanding.

A winner of the Two Oceans Marathon in record time two months ago, Steyn missed out on the pretty fast first leg in Gqeberha where Namibia’s Helalia Johannes reigned supreme as the entire top ten finishers clocked under 34 minutes.

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Steyn has said her main goal is next month’s Absa City Run but do not read that to mean that she will be on a jog in Durban. Far from it, for she is a competitive athlete and will be out to do well against what will be a stellar field teeming with past winners of the Series.

Johannes showed last month that she is not going to be slowing down with age as the 41-year-old ran what was thought to be a world best time for veterans.

But it was later discovered that her 31.53 was a tad slower than the 31.20 ran by 43-year-old Australian Lisa Weightman in the Sydney 10km three weeks earlier.

Johannes then made up for that disappointment a week later in Gqeberha when set a world record for over 40s in the South African half marathon championships, with a time of 67:49 minutes, beating Weightman’s world record time of 68:48.

The Namibian is building up for the World Championships in Oregon and will be out to use the race as speedwork for the full marathon in Oregon, USA next month.

She remains the one to beat and it is the likes of Steyn, Murray & Roberts’ Tayla Kavanagh who was the first South African home in Gqeberha, Grand Prix winners Kesa Molotsane and Irvette van Zyl that will be expected to strive to keep the title local.

The foreign contingent will be represented by Ethiopia’s starlets of last year’s overall Grand Prix Tadu Nare and newcomer Salem Gabre who finished third in Gqeberha.

Durban race director Brad Glasspoole is excitedly anticipating a thrilling race on a fast course: “The race is all at sea level, with the highest elevation nine metres,” he explained “It’s an ideal route for in-form runners to break records.”

@Tshiliboy

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