Olympics-bound Gelant embraces favourite’s tag ahead of Durban 10k

ELROY Gelant to race his last home race before heading to Paris Olympics. | Supplied

ELROY Gelant to race his last home race before heading to Paris Olympics. | Supplied

Published Jul 6, 2024


ELROY Gelant has graciously accepted the tag of race favourite for Sunday’s Absa RUN YOUR CITY DURBAN 10k and will do his best to live up to it.

A runner-up in the first two races of this year’s edition of the popular 10km series organised by Stillwater Sports, Gelant finds himself elevated to top spot due to the absence of Vincent Langat who beat him in both Gqeberha and Cape Town.

Yet, instead of taking delight in the Kenyan not being on the start-list, the Boxer Athletic Club stalwart was lamenting his adversary’s absence as he looked forward to what will be his penultimate race in the country before he heads to Paris for his third appearance at the Olympic Games.

“I was telling my training guys that I actually wanted Vincent to be here because Vincent can hammer that final kilometre in a sub 2:40 time and that tests your abilities. I want to test my abilities and I know that for me to beat Vincent I must be able to hammer a 3:36. So, I actually wanted him to be here so we could hammer down at 2:36/237.”

Such words can only be uttered by a man enjoying some of the best form of his career. Gelant is enjoying a purple patch even he would probably not have envisaged – at least not at his age (37 years old) which is often considered the twilight in the sport.

“It is positive to know that I am the favourite for this one. In Cape Town I ran my last kilometre at 2:40 and that means Vincent ran his at about 2:36 or so.

“When you can do that it takes your ability to the next level. It prepares to compete against the best in the world.

“So to be the favourite for this race is good although I don’t really care because for me it is about trying to run against myself and see where my preparations for the Olympics are at.”

Though he is building up for Paris 2024 and admits that pushing too hard could well come back to haunt him in the next five weeks when he races against the world’s best in the marathon, Gelant will not be pussyfooting about.

“Nothing has changed in terms of my training structure, What I did before the Durban International Marathon and the Cape Town (Absa RUN YOUR COTY 10)K) race has not changed. So I am still in that type of a shape but maybe even faster than the 27:50 because Cape Town e ran the first few kilometres against a head win and we could probably have run faster. So, I am still going to take it out and run from the gun.”

He is imbued with much more confidence now that he is national champion in both the half and full marathons.

“Being champion is great for the mind. It has restored something in me. I believe in myself. I go from the gun – even in the race in Gqeberha I didn’t care who was next to me. Of course, in a positive way because I still care about my athletes (competitors) but in terms of my focus I just concentrate on my run and I believe I am going to be the best.”

A pity there will be no Vincent Langat to pull him into running beyond himself. But now that he is the buy to beat, Sunday’s race it is Gelant’s opportunity to build even more confidence in himself prior to the Olympics. It is his chance to live up to the favourite’ tag he’ll be wearing when he toes the start line.