DURBAN – Planning a fast and flat route, FNB Durban 10K CITYSURFRUN organisers believe the inaugural race on the South African east coast could be among the fastest events each year.
The 10km race was added to the Run Your City series which includes the Cape Town 12 ONERUN and the Joburg 10K CITYRUN.
While marathons and ultra-distance races such as the Comrades Marathon have dominated the local road running scene, shorter distances such as the 10km are growing in popularity here.
Looking to attract top-class international fields with big prize money, they also offer local distance athletes an opportunity to make their mark against some of the world’s best runners.
Speaking at the launch of the Durban event, national 5000m record holder Elroy Gelant said he believes these races will lift the standard of distance events shorter than marathons and ultra.
“These races play a role in development, as nowadays in South Africa we are more focused on longer distances like the Two Oceans and Comrades,” Gelant said.
“So this is a platform for the younger guys to participate. I always see myself as a Haile Gebrselassie, who has run from 1500m right through to marathon and he has always been my idol.
“We need to be up there to be an example to the younger guys by focusing on the shorter distances.”
The Cape Town event has attracted some top distance athletes including inaugural winners in four-time world champion Vivian Cheruiyot and Emmanuel Bett of Kenya.
The Durban race is expected to attract an equally strong field on October 8 with Gelant predicting fast times.
“Running against top athletes like the Kenyans brings out the best in us. If you look at last year’s Cape Town race, Stephen Mokoka and I hanged out with these guys, with Stephen going on to win the race,” Gelant said.
“If you look at Stephen’s PB of 27:38 (SA 10km record) I think we can really push for a faster time, probably around 27.34 for Durban.
“It is really a good platform for us to go for good times at home and not having to go overseas to get good times there.”