Kyla Jacobs has described the experience of participating at the inaugural World Athletics Road Running Championships in Riga, Latvia over the weekend as ‘a really awesome’ experience.
The South African 5000m champion competed in the maiden 5km race and had a brilliant run which saw her finish in 16th position, just behind her compatriot Tyla Kavanagh who set a new national record of 15:50. Jacobs clocked an impressive 15:51.
“It was a really awesome experience and very special to be part of the first 5km world championship,” the 28-year-old multi-talented athlete who also competes in cross country said in an interview with IOL Sport upon return from Riga.
“It is always an honour and privilege to represent South Africa. It is surreal to line up with many of your idols from around the world. It was well organised championship with amazing support along the route.”
‘Fought until the end’
Jacobs, who recently partnered with Puma as her technical sponsors, was a little disappointed that she did not achieve all the targets she’d set herself for the championships.
“My goal was to run top 20 and I was hoping to run 15:40 or faster. I do believe i am in 15:40 shape but the route was not as fast as we hoped and we did battle a bit of a head wind.”
She was, nevertheless pleased with her showing.
“I was very proud of how I raced and executed the race. I fought right until the end and gave it my all! It was very special to finish right with Tayla and to run most of the race with my South African teammate. We have a lot of depth in the South African women’s team right now and I believe we inspire and motivate each other to keep on pushing the limits. We had a great team and I am excited about the future of South African athletics.”
Jacobs, who represented the country at the World Cross Country Championships in Bathurst, Australia in February where she finished in 37th place, acknowledged she would not be doing as well as she is without the great support she enjoys from different angles.
“I am very grateful for an amazing support network that I have. My parents and husband as well my club Boxer Athletic as well as my sponsors Puma for their unwavering support. I joined Puma because I can see myself growing with them not only as an elite athlete but also as a person. The Puma team has been so welcoming and I really appreciate the energising company culture. Puma is investing so much into innovation and it is backed up by great performances by top athletes. I look forward to being part of their growth and success.”
Now that the World Championships are done and dusted, Jacobs will start the journey to qualifying for next year’s Olympic Games in Paris.
She wants to meet the 5000m qualifying time of 14:57 and if her 5km time in Riga is anything to go by, there is every reason to foresee her achieving that track goal.
Jacobs also has ambitions of running 8:50 or faster in the 3000m as well as improve her 10km time to 32:10 and under.
Before all that though, she will take some time to bask in the glory of her brilliant performance in Riga.