Seen here (from left to right): Michael Meyer (Managing Director Stillwater Sports), Stella Chesang (ABSA Durban 10K CITYSURFRUN defending champion/Uganda), Sheila Chepkiru (World 10km list leader and second fastest ever / Kenya) and Mike Honeywell (Regional Head-KZN Coastal ABSA Business).
Photo Credit: Rogan Ward
In the space of three very short years, the ABSA Durban 10K CITYSURFRUN has gone from an event that has attracted some of the world’s best, to a race that now has IAAF Bronze Label status and can arguably boast the best ever women’s field assembled at a road race in South Africa (come Sunday 13 October 2019).
The event has seen the men’s SA all-comers record being broken twice and the fastest time run on African soil when Joshua Cheptegei, who was crowned World 10 000m champion on Sunday 6 October, running 27:28 in 2017 to set the new all-comers record and then breaking that record a year later when he clocked 27:16 in defense of his title in 2018.
Stella Chesang, in winning in 2018, set the fastest time on African soil for the SA all-comers record until that was broken this year in June. The ABSA Durban 10K CITYSURFRUN no doubt already has attracted the attention of the global road running fraternity, evident by the strong women’s field assembled.
Fastest in the World
Headlining the women’s field that boasts four athletes under 32 minutes and four under 33 minutes, is the fastest athlete in 2019, who also happens to be the second fastest ever. Sheila Chepkirui clocked 29:57 in Prague on 7 September to head the world’s list, and if she is in that kind of shape on Sunday, South Africa could be in for something really special.
Stella Chesang won the title in 2018 with 31:14 and will need to be on her best if she is hoping to defend that title. Not only will she need to contend with Chepkirui, but also the likes of Evaline Chirchir, Beatrice Mutai and Mary Ekiru. Chirchir’s 30:43 is the 8th fastest in the world this year, while Mutai has run 31:28 in 2017. Then, there is Mary Ekiru who is new to the road running scene, but with a best of 13:35.84 in the rarified air of Nairobi (1795m altitude) she is indeed a lethal contender.
While the battle for line honours will more than likely involve the above athletes, South Africans will be interested in how Irvette van Zyl will fair after having undergone surgery earlier this year. Glenrose Xaba is in the shape of her life after her 69:46 half marathon clocking in Buenos Aires in August. On her way to a time that saw her become only the third South African to break 70 min, Xaba also clocked 32:59 for the 10km and is hoping for a time under 32:20, possibly even under 32. Queen of the road, Gerda Steyn could also go under 33 minutes for the first time having seen performances in her last three 10km races improve her time in each of those races by around 30 seconds each.
Newfound South African confidence
The ABSA Run Your City Series has since 2015 pitted some of the best athletes in the world against South Africa’s finest. The net effect has been a much higher self-belief shown by the South Africans, to the point that three athletes have said they are hoping and looking for a sub 28 min clocking on Sunday 13 October. Elroy Gelant, Stephen Mokoka and now Precious Mashele have made no secret that they mean business in Durban, with all three eyeing the potential R30 000 bonus if they go under 28 minutes. Should the SA Record of 27:38 fall, then the first South African athlete to break the record, will walk away with R50 000.
But first they need to take on the challenge of Stephen Kissa, Alfred Ngeno, and William Sitonik amongst others. Kissa is the Ugandan 10km record holder and the fastest in the field with his 27:13 run in Laredo, Texas this year. Kissa has made no secret that he is eyeing a time of under 27 minutes, a feat which only two other athletes in the world have ever achieved. Ngeno is full of confidence after his win at the ABSA Joburg 10K CITYRUN on 24 September. The Kenyan shattered the previous course record of the race to run 29:16 on a tough course, and at altitude.
“It is truly incredible how the ABSA Durban 10K CITYSURFRUN has grown is such a short time. After only three years, we have some of the world’s best athletes wanting to come and race here. Having Sheila Chepkirui on the start line is a big coup for us. It just goes to show that the world is starting to take notice. This is only possible due to our Elite Athlete Programme where we are able to contract the best in the world and our own South African athletes,” says Michael Meyer, Managing Director Stillwater Sports. “This year the ABSA Run Your City Series has also implemented a Single-Use Plastic (SUP) Management Campaign that aims to drastically reduce the usage of single-use plastics by 85% at all events. Our ultimate goal is to host a mass participation road running series that is plastic free.”
“ABSA has been involved in the Run Your City Series from the start,” says Bonga Sebesho, Head of Sponsorships at ABSA. “When we were approached with the vision of hosting an event where social runners can rub shoulders with the best in the world and where an active and healthy lifestyle is promoted, we were immediately sold. To see how the Series has grown in such a short time makes us truly proud, more so with the growth of the ABSA Durban 10K CITYSURFRUN. We’d like to extend a big welcome to all athletes with a special welcome to Sheila (Chepkirui). We look forward to seeing your magic together with the rest of the field on race day. We cannot forget our responsibility in helping take care of our environment and as such we are grateful to Stillwater Sports for taking this race to new and cleaner heights.”
The ABSA Run Your City Series consists of four events: the ABSA Cape Town 12 ONERUN (5th anniversary in 2019), ABSA Joburg 10K CITYRUN (4th anniversary in 2019), ABSA Durban 10K CITYSURFRUN (3rd anniversary in 2019) and ABSA Maputo 10K CITYRUN (inaugural event on 10 November 2019).
Exhilarating mass participation road races, each event celebrates 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 (ABSA Cape Town 12 ONERUN and ABSA Durban 10K CITYSURFRUN). The Durban race is now chasing Gold Label Status. The significance of that cannot be underestimated. Label Status means that the ABSA Run Your City Series will attract some of the best athletes in the world, which means that South Africa’s top athletes get to race the best on home soil. As a result, fast times will be recorded on the African Continent.
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 ABSA Durban 10K CITYSURFRUN will be livestreamed as was the Cape Town leg of the ABSA Run Your City Series.
EVENT INFORMATION: ABSA Durban 10K CITYSURFRUN
|Date:||Sunday 13 October 2019|
|Venue:||Start – Blue Lagoon (Athlone Drive) / Finish – Beachfront Precinct (near The Bike and Bean|
|Charities:||When entering online runners can choose to support one (or all five) of the event’s charities 1. The Reach For A Dream Foundation, 2. TREE, 3. Durban & Coast SPCA, 4. LIV Village and 5. iThemba Lethu.|
|Prize Purse:||R250 000 / View the entire Prize Purse Breakdown here: http://bit.ly/2MHQ4fd|
IN THE NEWS: The ABSA Run Your City Series has implemented a Single-Use Plastic (SUP) Management Campaign that aims to drastically reduce the usage of single-use plastics by 85% at all three events. “The aim of the ABSA Run Your City Series’ SUP Management Campaign is to drastically reduce the usage of single-use plastics by 85% at all three events. Our ultimate goal is to host a mass participation road running series that is plastic free,” says Michael Meyer, Managing Director Stillwater Sports.
About the ABSA Run Your City Series:
ABSA is proud to once again bring you the ABSA Run Your City Series which comprises of three unique mass participation events that integrate business involvement, family, diversity, investment in community, world class achievement and fun for all participants, both individuals and businesses alike.
Each of the races are developed to take participants through the historical routes around each city, thereby adding a tourism element to each race, making it more than a race but an economic opportunity for each community.
The ABSA Run Your City Series is made up of three races around South Africa, namely, the ABSA Cape Town 12 ONERUN, the ABSA Joburg 10K CITYRUN and the ABSA Durban 10K CITYSURFRUN.
For further information please visit www.runyourcityseries.com