JOHANNESBURG - It was touted as a race conducive to fast times and that is exactly what a loaded field produced at the inaugural FNB Durban 10km CitySurfRun with Uganda’s Joshua Cheptegei racing to a new South African all-comers record.
The world 10,000m silver medallist smashed the record Richard Limo’s set in Port Elizabeth in 2004 by 27 seconds, breaking the tape in a time of 27:28 on Sunday. His time was the fourth fastest time in the world this year as well as a new Ugandan national record.
“I'm happy with the win, the wind posed quite a challenge from the 5.5-kilometre mark so I believe I could have run better than this. But it is a new national record and a PB,” Cheptegei said.
It was a golden day for Ugandan road running with 19-year-old Mercyline Chelangat also winning and setting a new national women’s record crossing of 31:37, the second fastest time ever on South African soil behind Elana Meyer’s 31:33 from 1991.
Stephen Mokoka was the first South African across the line finishing in fourth place with a time of 28:34: “I started out very slow and the pace was too up and down so after six kilometres I started suffering. I paid for those fartleks in the early stages.”
Dominique Scott-Efurd was the first South African female home in a time of 33:26.
“It has been a long season, almost 13 months of racing with no break, so I am quite happy with today,” Scott-Efurd said. “But it was hard and the wind did add to the challenge.”
Cheptegei made his move at four-kilometres with Mokoka, Julien Wanders of Switzerland, and fellow Ugandan Stephen Kissa following suit. They went through five kilometres in 13:47, well on a sub 27:30-pace before Cheptegei dropped Mokoka and Wanders.
He had Kissa as company for approximately another kilometre but his pace proved too much for his compatriot. With two kilometres to go,Cheptegei was flying solo and went on to shave 18 seconds off his previous best and national record of 27:46. Kissa followed in a time of 28:04, a PB, while Wanders set a new Swiss record with his 28:12.
Chelangat improved her best time of 33:17 by a massive one minute 40 seconds after going through the first two kilometres in an incredible 6:02. Chelangat, Kenyans Paskalia Chepkorir (second in 31:47) and Dorcas Tuitoek (third in 32:11) raced together for the majority of the race before the Ugandan winner broke with a kilometre to go.
“I did not know what to expect, so to run this fast, makes me very happy,” said Chelangat. “I knew I was in good shape and the wind made it difficult, but after today I know I can go a lot faster.”