Gerda determined to make Olympics

Long-distance runner Gerda Steyn is looking forward to representing South Africa in the August Olympic Games in Paris in the “proudest way” she possibly can. 

Steyn has had an outstanding year, breaking women’s records at the Om Die Dam, Two Oceans, and Comrades ultra-marathons within three months. 

While most elite ultra-distance runners typically race two or three times a year, Steyn feels prepared for the quick turnaround to the standard marathon at the Paris Olympics.

“It is a challenge that I’ve set myself,” Steyn said after clocking 5:49:46 to beat her own Comrades up-run record by more than nine minutes in Pietermaritzburg on Sunday. 

“I know nobody has ever attempted running Comrades and the Olympics in the same year, but I feel blessed that I’ve got this opportunity.”

Steyn, who holds the national record over the standard 42.2km distance, is one of three women in the South African team for the Olympic marathon. 

She will be joined by experienced runner Irvette van Zyl and marathon rookie Cian Oldknow. All three athletes have achieved the automatic qualifying standard of 2:26:50 for the marathon at the multi-sport showpiece.

At 34, Steyn hopes to impress on an Olympic marathon course that suits her well. With over 400 metres of climbing and hot weather expected in Paris, she could do well in the conditions and potentially even bring back a gold medal. 

“For me, it feels like a platform to encourage people to go after difficult things because it’s worth it,” said Steyn, who finished 15th in the Olympic marathon in Tokyo in 2021, when the Comrades and Two Oceans races were cancelled because of Covid-19. 

“It builds your character, and you can inspire so many people, so I’m happy about my choice, and I’m going to work so hard to be ready on 11 August to represent South Africa in the proudest way I possibly can.”

Compiled by Staff Writer

Pictured above: Gerda Steyn. 

Source: X


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