SA ELITE GEAR UP FOR ONERUN RACE

 
Updated: May 11, 2016

A full-strength local field will be out in full force this weekend, with South Africa’s top men aiming to topple the visiting East African contingent, and a host of women eager to make a statement against runaway compatriot Irvette van Zyl.
With all three podium finishers in the men’s race last year – Kenyans Emmanuel Bett and Daniel Salel, and Ugandan Timothy Toroitich – returning for the second edition of the FNB OneRun 12km race in Cape Town on Sunday, organisers announced a powerful local line-up this week.
National 10km record holder Stephen Mokoka, who missed the inaugural event in 2015, would join the likes of Elroy Gelant, who was fifth last year, Olympic marathon hopeful Sibusiso Nzima, Gladwin Mzazi and Joel Mmone.
While the lead group would target the 18-year-old world best of 33:31 held by Kenyan Joseph Kimani, after Bett missed the global mark by one second last year, local athletes were also set to chase Matthews Motshwarateu’s national best of 34:23 which was set 28 years ago, with organisers putting a R10 000 bonus on the line.
The women’s field, meanwhile, would target the same cash incentive on top of the R40 000 on offer for the race winners, with Van Zyl leading the charge in an effort to break the national mark of 38:49 set by Elana Meyer in 1999.
In the absence of Kenyan defending champion Vivian Cheruiyot, Van Zyl was due to line up as the firm favourite after producing the form of her life this season.
Eager to end her unbeaten run on the domestic circuit, however, twin sisters Lebo and Lebogang insisted they could stop Van Zyl in her tracks after they finished third and fourth at last year’s race, as the first SA women across the line.
Van Zyl, who was pregnant at the time, ended 11th last season, but bounced back this year to launch a series of superb solo performances on the road and track.
“We know that Irvette is in really great shape and it will take a lot to beat her, but we look forward to the challenge and as ever will give our best on race day,” the Phalula siblings said in a joint statement.
Other athletes announced in the elite women’s field this week included sisters Christine and Rene Kalmer, and Mapaseka Makhanya.