Johannesburg — South Africa produces several exceptional short-distance road runners despite its reputation as an ultramarathon running expert.
Gerda Steyn, the holder of the Comrades Marathon up-run record, is not only the holder of South Africa’s greatest marathon time, but she is also an excellent 10km runner.
On Saturday’s Run Your City Joburg 10k race, however, the men’s category will demonstrate the great skill that exists.
The final race of the popular series, Heritage Race, promises to be exciting despite the challenging course. How could a race including Melikhaya Frans, Elroy Gelant, Precious Mashele, Andries Sesedi, Mbuleli Mathanga, Collen Mulaudzi, Thabang Mosiakwa, and Kabelo Melamu not be exciting?
On Saturday, the asphalt on the M1 and M2 roads of Johannesburg will be in for a beating, since all of these names will be recognized to the discerning runner.
Speaking at the pre-race press conference on Thursday, SA 10km Cross Country champion Mathanga — the fastest man in the field with a time of 28:03 at the Run Your City Durban 10k in July — believes he has the upper hand over his opponents after winning the same distance at the SA Cross Country Championships last weekend.
“I am confident for race day,” Mathanga stated. “I hurt my ankle approximately 7 kilometers into the race (Run Your City Durban 10k) and almost missed breaking 28 minutes. Therefore, I anticipate a competitive race on Saturday.”
But Olympic athlete Mashele would not let him to have his way, not after his comfortable victory at the Gun Run 10km in 28:35.
“I desire to win. “I am back after suffering several injuries in 2022, but I am back,” Mashele added.
The duo is fully aware that national 5 000m record holder Gelant and national record holder Frans are no slouches and will be present to ask questions.
The same will be true for 21-year-old Sesedi, the South African 10km champion after his debut victory in August. Seoposengwe will also seek to demonstrate that he was deserving of his runner-up finish at the South African 10 kilometer championships.
Mogwai demonstrates that he is learning a great deal from the famous Stephen Mokoka through his recent third-place finish at the Gun Run. He will also be aiming to place highly on Saturday. Alongside him will be another Mulaudzi athlete trained by Michael “Sponge” Seme.
This 10km race is certain to be an exciting one.
And the same can be said for the women’s race, where Steyn will want to continue honing her speed in preparation for her November participation in the New York City Marathon. She ran the half-marathon in 74 minutes at the Gun Run, which was a successful race.
There are six women in the competition who have run a sub-33 minute 10K, which bodes well for an exciting race, with Lesotho’s Neheng Thala’s 32:06 run in the Run Your City Cape Town 10K being the fastest.
As the national 10km champion, Glenrose Xaba should be difficult to defeat, although in-form Lebo Phalula, Kesa Molotsane, and the rapidly improving Cacisile Sosibo will make for an exciting race.