Durban — South African athlete Gerda Steyn, 33, is aiming for a fifth Dubai Marathon 10km victory.
Steyn already has four successive victories to her name in the annual 10km Road Race.
She is a favourite to make it five in a row when the Dubai Marathon begins on Sunday. Last year, Steyn won at 33:47 over an unfamiliar route at Expo City Dubai.
The Dubai Marathon’s 10km event is always the most popular race in terms of athlete number.
With Steyn being the favourite, any woman wanting to beat Steyn will have to be in their best form come Sunday.
“I’ve been very fortunate to have enjoyed a wonderful year in 2023 with the three most memorable days being when I won the Two Oceans Marathon and the Comrades Marathon in South Africa, followed by running a new marathon national record in Spain in December,” Steyn said.
Weeks ago, Steyn set a new South African national record when she participated in the Valencia Marathon and finished 11th in a time of 2:24:03.
“I’ve run the Dubai 10km race every year since 2018 and have won it four times, so I can’t think of a better way to start the new year than to be a part of it once again,” Steyn said.
“My aim is to win the 10km again in 2024 and even though I won’t be running the full marathon itself, I still get to be part of the iconic event.”
With the 23rd edition of the Dubai Marathon taking place over the fast and flat roads of Umm Suqeim, the quicksilver South African may well have her eyes on the personal best of 32:24 she set over the same surface the last time it was staged there in 2020.
The Dubai Marathon launches what will be a busy year for the adidas runner.
As well as committing to the defence of her Comrades Marathon and Two Oceans Marathon titles in KwaZulu-Natal (from Durban to Pietermaritzburg) and Cape Town respectively, Steyn will also represent her country at the 2024 Olympics in Paris. It will be her second Olympics, having finished 15th in the marathon in Sapporo in 2021.
The 2024 Dubai Marathon is supported by the Dubai Sports Council, adidas, Dubai Duty Free, EXEED by Al Ghurair, the Channel 4 Radio Network, the ITP Media Group, Bisleri Water, Biofreeze, Dubai RTA, Dubai Police, Al Ameen Service, Dubai Municipality and SIRO One Za’abeel, the first fully integrated fitness and recovery hotel in Dubai.
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