David Gatebe pictured with the Implats running team. Photo: @Implats on twitter

JOHANNESBURG – David Gatebe is likely to run the streets of San Francisco like a man possessed today as he strives to get over his IAU World 50km Championship disappointment.

Expected to be one of the top performers for Team SA in Brasov, Romania, the Impala Athletics star had a pretty “pedestrian showing” that saw him finish 21st.

Gatebe was fifth among the six South Africans who nevertheless brought home team gold.

The Comrades Marathon “down run” record holder has a chance to redeem himself when he and this year’s Comrades champion Edward Mothibi lead the four-man team of their employer Impala Platinum Mines at the JP Morgan World Relay Championships.

Impala were crowned SA champions earlier this year and will today battle it out against corporate teams from the world over in the 5.6km relay.

Ahead of their departure to Romania, from where they headed straight to the US, Gatebe spoke of his excitement at the opportunity to run in the global event.

“It is something very different to what we normally do... We are all excited and we will go there and do our best to be the champions. But we saw from their times that the team from Google in San Francisco and the one from Germany (German Bank of Frankfort) are very strong.”

With two Comrades winners in their team, Impala fancy their chances with manager Blackie Swart speaking highly of the other two members of the quartet, Max Teiso and Sam Matsepe.

Meanwhile, Nick Bester says the world is keen to learn from South Africa about ultra-distance running and this is something the country should pride itself on.

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Speaking on his return from Romania, where he managed Team SA, the former Comrades champion gushed as he relived the event.

“For ultra-running distance in the world, South Africa is seen as the leading country. We had a seminar and a panel discussion and the whole world was looking up to South Africa. They were all asking us how we do it.

“It is all because of the structure of running in South Africa with ASA at the top; the provinces and the strong clubs below are all making sure that the runners get the benefit of being able to compete as professional athletes.

“The whole race was dominated by the South Africans, they intimidated the rest of the runners. Everybody knew that we are the danger guys.

They were marking the guys; if we moved, they went with us and if we slowed down, they slowed down. It is just a pity we did not snatch the first (individual) position.”



The Star

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