NEW YORK – South Africa’s Gerda Steyn produced a huge lifetime best as she finished the New York Marathon (NYCM) in a time of 2:31:04 to take 13th place on Sunday.
Her blistering run obliterated her previous Personal Best (PB) 2:37:22 at the Valencia Marathon last year. Her average pace for the 42.2km was an impressive 3:35 minutes/per km. Steyn's time lifts her to sixth in the all-time SA women's rankings over 42.2km.
Kenya’s Mary Keitany surged to victory in 2:22:48, countrywoman Vivian Cheruiyot took second 2:26:02 with American defending champion Shalane Flanagan third in 2:26:22.
Steyn showed she belonged in the world class field right from the start, as the women were grouped together in one large bunch through the first 10 kilometres covered in 37:05. In fact, the women set off at a conservative pace which equated to a predicted 2:38 finish - slower than Steyn’s previous PB.
It was only at the 16km point which the women passed in around the hour mark, where the field split up into two groups. At that point, Steyn settled into the second group as the top contenders began to move ahead.
By the 19km mark, the first group had shrunk to nine runners.
The 28-year-old Steyn passed the 21km mark in 76:35 and was able to maintain her pace for the next nine kilometres.
After the 30km mark, Steyn began to increase her pace - a sign of her top form at the moment. In fact, Steyn was able to increase her pace once more in the final five kilometres to ensure yet another, and possibly her most impressive, PB this season.
Steyn received a special invitation to the race as part of a quality field after she won the Two Oceans Marathon earlier this year.
Steyn’s remarkable rise in South African road running, besides her phenomenal talent, is down to her unique approach to training which enables her to compete with the best in the country in distances starting from 10km.
Recently Steyn finished second at the Spar Ladies 10km race at Mark’s Park in Johannesburg in a time of 34:57 on October 7, and just a week later set a new 10km personal best in an impressive 33:36 at the FNB Durban 10k. In Durban, she finished fifth in a world class field and was the third SA woman across the line.
African News Agency (ANA)