Uganda’s Joshua Cheptegei was touted as the race favourite at the inaugural ABSA Durban 10K CITYSURFRUN – and the 21-year-old World Championship 10 000m silver medallist delivered, when he smashed the South African All-Comers Record of 27:55 set by Richard Limo in Port Elizabeth in 2004. Cheptegei crossed the line in 27:28 for the fourth fastest time in the world this year, as well as a Ugandan National Record.
If that wasn’t enough, 19-year-old Mercyline Chelangat also ran a National Uganda Record in the women’s race, while Julien Wanders set a Swiss National Record.
The first kilometre saw a bunch of approximately 20 athletes fly past in 2:47, but within the second kilometre the pace had been upped remarkably and went past in 2:42, spitting out close on 10 athletes from the front bunch. The pace then settled into 2:45/km but even that was too fast for the bunch and by the 4km mark the pack had been whittled down to four. Surprisingly, the worlds’ fastest 12km runner, Morris Gachaga was not able to go with the brutal pace; neither was SA 5000m Record Holder, Elroy Gelant as Joshua Cheptegei surged at 4km, taking SA 10km Record Holder, Stephen Mokoka, Swiss sensation, Julien Wanders and Countryman, Stephen Kissa with him.
5km was passed in 13:47 – well on a sub 27:30-pace. Cheptegei though was relentless and upped the pace again, dropping Mokoka and Wanders. Kissa hung on for almost another kilometre, before he too had to give way to Cheptegei’s continuous surging.
By 8km, Cheptegei was the sole contender for the title and it was a race against the clock. Flying down the promenade on Durban’s beachfront, Joshua Cheptegei crossed the line in 27:28 to run the fourth fastest time in the world this year, breaking his own National Record by 18 seconds (27:46). Second across the line was countryman and training partner, Stephen Kissa shaving 24 seconds off his personal best of 28:28 to finish in 28:04 while Julien Wanders knocked 37 seconds off his previous best of 28:49, clocking 28:12.
“The wind came up and did affect us,” said Cheptegei after the race. “But I am very happy. A national record and my PB, yes I am very happy.” Asked about why he decided to make the move at 4km, Cheptegei said that it just felt right to go then. “We were running hard, we wanted a fast time. The first few kilometres were not consistent in terms of splits, so I wanted to make sure we ran more consistently. Also I felt good and I could see the others were struggling a bit.”
Mokoka who was chasing his own SA Record finished in 4th in 28:34. “This was a hard run. Overall I am happy, but it was hard.”
Just as in the men’s race, it was a Ugandan who took the women’s race in a National Record. Mercyline Chelangat had the race of her life, improving her best time of 33:17 by a massive 1 min 40 sec to clock an incredible 31:37 for the second fastest time ever on South African soil behind the 31:33 of Elana Meyer in 1991 – ironically also in Durban.
The initial pace was almost suicidal as the women went through 2km in 6:02 and then settled down. Chelangat, Dorcus Tuitoek and Paskalia Chepkorir then raced together for the next 7km, before Chelangat was able to break away and fly to an incredible time of 31:37, also breaking the previous national record of Uganda which had stood at 32:10.
“I did not know what to expect, so to run this fast, makes me very happy,” says Chelangat. “I knew I was in good shape and the wind made it difficult, but after today I know I can go a lot faster.”
Paskalia Chepkorir finished second, ten seconds back (31:47) with Dorcas Tuitoek rounding out the podium (32:11). First South African across the line was Dominique Scott-Efurd who finished in 33:26.
“It has been a long season, almost 13 months of racing with no break, so I am quite happy with today,” says Scott-Efurd. “But it was hard and the wind did add to the challenge. But I loved racing in Durban and hope to be back again. This race is incredible and it was amazing to be part of it.”
Michael Honeywell, from ABSA Business in KZN says, “It was exciting to witness thousands of South Africans from all walks of life joined together in the inaugural ABSA Durban 10K CITYSURFRUN. Judging by the turnout and the enthusiasm among professional athletes and citizens, we believe that this race will soon become one of the flagship sporting events in the region. ABSA has similar races in the Western Cape and Gauteng. The ability to provide a platform for citizens in KZN to explore their cities while showing commitment to a healthy lifestyle humbles us as a bank. Congratulations are in order for all the top performers and everyone who participated this year. We hope to see more people who work, live and play in Durban join this magnificent race next year.”
The ABSA Durban 10K CITYSURFRUN is proudly hosted by KZN Athletics.
Charity Support: When entering online, runners can choose to support The Reach For A Dream Foundation, TREE and/or the SPCA Durban.
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About the ABSA Durban 10K CITYSURFRUN sponsorship:
ABSA Business is proud to be the title sponsor of the ABSA Durban 10K CITYSURFRUN. This 10km road running race seeks to bring experienced and novice runners from the city of Durban and surrounds together, through the common goal of road-running, recreation, sports and fun. This sponsorship forms part of our ongoing strategy to support local and community events that focus on a healthy lifestyle, family involvement and impact the communities they operate in positively. It allows us to engage with our clients and the broader community through the memorable experience created by the event. At the core of our strategy is to also support an event like this that contributes towards the rejuvenation, cleaning and revival of the city-center. As a proudly South African bank, we are proud to be part of a run that celebrates everything about the city of Durban and its diverse cultures.
ISSUED BY: Newsport Media