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Gerda Steyn not done chasing records

Gerda Steyn wins the Ultra Marathon women's race in record time during the 2022 Two Oceans Marathon at UCT Green Mile in Cape Town on 17 April 2022. Picture: Ryan Wilkisky/BackpagePix

Gerda Steyn wins the Ultra Marathon women's race in record time during the 2022 Two Oceans Marathon at UCT Green Mile in Cape Town on 17 April 2022. Picture: Ryan Wilkisky/BackpagePix

Published Jun 12, 2022

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Johannesburg - Such has been Gerda Steyn’s achievements since she took up running in her early adulthood that you’d expect her to be content.

Surely anyone who holds three records of major races in her country should be delighted and perhaps even ready to call it in.

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Not so Steyn. The Comrades Up Run, Two Oceans and national marathon records that she holds are not enough.

“Of course, the Comrades Down Run that I don’t have is on my radar. But I know that I will have to be in tip top condition to break it. Frith (Van der Merwe, who ran a 5:54:43 in 1989) was a fantastic athlete and it will take something special to beat her time. And remember, the current distance is about a kilometre longer than the previous one.”

Will she be going for it this year? “I have entered the race, but I am still deciding on whether I will participate or not. Last year was hectic because I did three races in six months. I didn’t get injured, but this year I want to give myself enough time to prepare. So, it will either be the Comrades or an international marathon.”

Steyn will also not be going to two major international events taking place this year.

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“It was a tough call but I have informed ASA that I won’t be going to the Commonwealth Games or the World Championships. I had wanted to go to the World Champs, but the good thing is that there’s the chance to go to the one taking place next year.”

As she decides whether to do Comrades or an international marathon, Steyn will be competing in the shorter distances and will participate in the Spar Grand Prix Series’ Durban leg on the 26th.

That race will be in preparation for the Absa Run Your City race in Cape Town in July.

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“I am in the mountains in France now training. I’ve just got back from doing 600m repeats. I am going to the Spar Ladies in Durban but the Absa one on the 11th of July is my goal.”

In her preparations, Steyn has been doing her part to contribute to her sponsor Adidas’ Run for the Oceans cause.

“Adidas are encouraging everyone around the globe to get active for 10 minutes, it can be any sport. And in turn they pledge to remove a plastic bottle from the beach before it reaches the ocean. They are not asking us to donate money but to rather do something we like, to get active and they have pledged to do something good for the planet. The goal for this year was to remove 250kg of plastic waste from the ocean.”

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The projection that there would be more plastic than fish in the ocean by 2050 if things don’t change resonates with Steyn.

“It is for this reason that I believe we can all make a big difference if we can come together and support causes such as Run for the Oceans. As runners we are always outdoors, in nature. So, we better make sure that we take care of it for the next generation.”

Speaking of the next generation, Steyn has left them a mammoth task with her record runs. And she intends on adding some more.

“I still want to improve on my own marathon PB (Personal Best). That’s still a big item on my list.”

Steyn’s marathon PB is 2:25:28 – that is the national record she set last year in Italy to break the 2:26:35 that had been run by Colleen de Reuck in 1996.

Having joined Adidas at the beginning of the year, Steyn, 32, is glad that she’s with a sponsor whose values and slogan ‘Impossible is Nothing’ resonates with her.

“My running career started differently from the norm and this slogan is something I can live by. It is something I am actually living. It does not matter where you start or how you start, not even where you are at the moment. You can reach those goals that seem far-fetched or reach the impossible, and my story and career are living proof of that.”

@Tshiliboy

IOL Sport

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