Xaba breaks idol Elana Meyer’s 10km record

Glenrose Xaba en route to a fourth-place finish at the Absa RUN YOUR CITY DURBAN 10K. Anthony Grote

Glenrose Xaba en route to a fourth-place finish at the Absa RUN YOUR CITY DURBAN 10K. Anthony Grote

Published Jul 8, 2024



GLENROSE Xaba usurped Elana Meyer as the South African 10km record holder in Durban yesterday and immediately paid tribute to the legendary athlete who had faith in her abilities when she was still young.

“Thank you, Elana, for motivating me,” Xaba said after running a 31:12 for a fourth- place finish in the Absa RUN YOUR CITY DURBAN10K, slicing a second off Meyer’s mark from 2001.

“I was always looking at your times, especially those times that are national records and I told myself, ‘I am capable of doing anything, I am very strong, I will train hard and will keep believing in myself as I look at your records and motivate myself’.”

Meyer played a major role in putting fire in a young Xaba’s belly.

“Elana told me when I was still young and running under her Endurocard development that, ‘Glenrose, you got too much oxygen in your lungs and one day you will be able to run one of my records. You will be fast in (the) half (marathon) and marathon, if you just keep training … She motivated me.”

And make it she did, Xaba running the third sub-32-minute 10km race of her career. Just two weeks ago she did a 31:57 in Durban to secure a runners-up finish in the Spar Ladies 10km, that time 2sec slower than her personal best.

She was in beast mode yesterday, helped as she was by the east African contingent who occupied the top three podium spots.

Kenya’s Christine Njoki won the race in 30:37, the fastest time run by a woman on African soil, while Debash Desta was runner-up 23sec behind and Judith Kiyeng of Kenya completed the podium positions with her time of 31:10.

Xaba says she went to bed the night before confident she could break the record.

“(On Saturday), I told the Phalulas (twins Lebo and Lebogang) that we are going for the SA record. I said we don’t want to break it too much, by just seconds.

“When I got to 50m (from the finish) I saw it (the time) was 30-something. I tried to push but my legs locked and it was lactic acid. But I just pushed and I was happy to go under 31 (minutes).”

She was more than happy.

“I am feeling very excited. Thank you to my team Boxer, my coaches Violet and Caster Semenya, my manager Leroy, and Michael Meyer for inviting me.”

Given she always shines in Durban, Xaba said she believes she is made to run in the city.

“Durban is like my third home. I am from Mpumalanga and I live in Pretoria but I think my ancestors love me to run (in) Durban,” she said, chuckling.

Now that she is a record holder, do not expect Xaba to relax.

“You can be a record holder and world champ but you need to stay humble and work hard because there are those coming behind who want to be like you. No time to relax.

“I am just glad that I am one of the national record holders and I hope the record can be broken by me. I will be happy if I can run 31 (minutes) flat.”

On the strength of yesterday’s run, there is every reason to believe she can.

Meanwhile, Elroy Gelant continued his brilliant form when he won the men’s race in a rare podium clean sweep for Sour African men.

The SA half marathon and standard marathon champion crossed the finish line in 27:47, ahead of Kabelo Mulaudzi (27:53) and Thabang Mosiako (27:54). Tanzania’s Mao Ako (27:55) and Stephen Mokoka (27:56) both also dipped under the 28-minute mark.

It was Glenrsoe Xaba everyone was toasting on the morning though.

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