A thrilling Run Your City Joburg 10k in the offing

Johannesburg — For a country that prides itself as a specialist in ultra-marathon running, South Africa does produce some fantastic short-distance road runners.

The fact that Comrades Marathon up-run record holder Gerda Steyn is not only in possession of SA’s best marathon time, but is very useful in the 10km as well bears testimony to this.

It is in the men’s category though, where the talent is immense, and this much will be evidenced in Saturday’s Run Your City Joburg 10k race.

The last of the popular series takes place on Heritage Day and promises to deliver fireworks, the tough route notwithstanding. How else can a race that boasts of super athletes such as Melikhaya Frans, Elroy Gelant, Precious Mashele, Andries Sesedi, Mbuleli Mathanga, Collen Mulaudzi, Thabang Mosiako and Kabelo Melamu not be a thrilling event?

The discerning running enthusiast will be familiar with all those names, and thus aware that the tar on the M1 and M2 highways of Joburg is in for it on Saturday.

Speaking at the pre-race media conference on Thursday SA 10km Cross Country champion Mathanga — the fastest man in the field with the 28:03 that he ran at the Run Your City Durban 10k in July — believes he has the beating of his adversaries having just won the same distance at the SA Cross Country Championships last weekend.

“I am confident for race day,” said Mathanga. “I sprained my ankle around 7km into the race in Durban (Run Your City Durban 10k) and just missed out on breaking 28min. So I am looking for a good race on Saturday.”

But Olympian Mashele will not allow him to have things his way, not after his comfortable win at the Gun Run 10km where he crossed the line in 28:35.

“I want to win. I am back after having had to deal with some injuries in 2022, but I am back,” Mashele said.

The duo know only too well that the likes of national 5 000m record holder Gelant and Frans are no slouches, and will be there and thereabouts asking questions.

The same will apply with new kid on the block 21-year-old Sesedi who is the SA 10km champion following his breakthrough victory in August. Seoposengwe will also want to show that he was worthy of the runner-up position he claimed at the SA 10km championships.

Mogwai is showing that he is learning a lot from the legendary Stephen Mokoka, through some impressive runs — the last of which was a third place at the Gun Run. He will be eager to finish high up on Saturday as well. Alongside him will be another of those coached by Michael “Sponge’ Seme in Mulaudzi.

As 10km races go, this one is sure to be a thriller.

And the same can be said for the women’s race where Steyn will be looking to continue to sharpen her speed ahead of her participation in the New York Marathon in November. She had a good race in the Gun Run, where she ran 74 minutes for the half marathon.

There are six women in the race who have run a sub 33 minutes and that bodes for a scintillating race with Neheng Thala of Lesotho the fastest with her 32:06 PB run at the Run Your City Cape Town 10K.

Glenrose Xaba, as national 10km champion should be hard to beat and the likes of in-form Lebo Phalula, Kesa Molotsane and the fast-improving Cacisile Sosibo will make it an incredible race.

@Tshiliboy

IOL Sport

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