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Gerda Steyn hoping for TotalSports Two Oceans Marathon hat-trick on Sunday

Gerda Steyn, winner of the TotalSports Two Oceans Marathon in 2018 and 2019, is focused on completing a hat-trick of victories

Gerda Steyn, winner of the TotalSports Two Oceans Marathon in 2018 and 2019, is focused on completing a hat-trick of victories. Photo: Supplied

Published Apr 15, 2022

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Cape Town — The lure of swelling her bank account by an extra quarter of a million rands is unlikely to distract Gerda Steyn from her primaary goal in Sunday's TotalSports Two Oceans Marathon.

A champion in 2018 and 2019, Steyn is more focused on completing a hat-trick of success instead of breaking the record.

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But if the record is there for the taking, South Africa's running golden girl will go for it.

"First I'd like to defend my title," Steyn said at the pre-race conference in the heart of the Mother City "But I've been thinking about it. I am aware that the record is within my abilities. I am prepared for it although it is important to respect the distance. But if it is a good day and good weather, I will go for it."

Steyn ran to within 53 seconds of the long-standing record of 3:30:36 set by the great Frith Van Der Merwe back in 1989 when she defended her title in 2019.

The sponsors Totalsports have put up a R250000 carrot for the runners to break the records and while she won't be going all out for it, Steyn admits it would be great to add the 56km accolade to the national marathon one as well as the Comrades Up Run record ones she has against her name.

Given her status, Steyn is always expected to win whenever she toes the start line of a race. Does that bring with it pressure?

"I think because I started this running thing late in my life, u am much more matured and able to handle the pressuree. Of course there is some pressure of returning as a two time champion, but as I did when I started, I know it is important to respect the distance and respect my competitors."

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While a favourite, Steyn - who now runs for the University of Johannesburg - will have to dig deep to overcome some serious competition from her former teammate at Nedbank Running Club Irvette Van Zyl and a few Ethiopians representing 'the green machine'

While describing herself as nervous, Van Zyl is ready to give the race a good go.

"I'm excited that this race is back and I hope it does not take me as long to win it as was the case with the half marathon."

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Van Zyl will not be lacking in confidence having finished in third place in her debut race back in 2019. She is, after all, a 50km world record holder after her splendid win in the Nedbank Breaking Barriers race in Gqeberha last year.

"This time around, I've brought immodium because ultras and immodium go together," she joked.

Veteran runner Charne Bosman has finished in nearly all the top ten positions in the ultra except the most important one - champion.

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But she is realistic enough to know that winning could well be beyond her.

"I don't think first position is possible, I just came back from an injury. So we will see what happens on the day. I am going to just run my race but I will definitely try to win th veterans category."

@Tshiliboy

IOL Sport

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