Chasing a record bonus, distance runner Stephen Mokoka believes his national record will be on the line at the FNB Durban 10k CitySurfRun next month.
The versatile athlete from Pretoria and Ugandan star Joshua Cheptegei would headline the elite field at the inaugural 10km road race in the coastal city on October 8, organisers revealed on Monday.
Mokoka, who set the SA record of 27:38 in Manchester in May 2015, believed he would be able to give his mark a shake against a quality field.
“When we race against these athletes we must put up a good show,” he said.
“The course is flat, and with athletes like Joshua Cheptegei in the field, it will be fast. I think that I can break my own SA record.”
The 20-year-old Cheptegei, who won the world junior 10 000m title in 2014, delivered a superb performance to secure the silver medal over 25 laps at the World Championships in London last month, where he set a track personal best of 26:49.94.
Though he had less experience on the road, he held a handy 10km career best of 27:46.
“I am looking forward to this and want to run a very fast time,” Cheptegei said.
With R300 000 on the line for a South African record, and R500 000 up for grabs for anyone who could break Kenyan athlete Leonard Komon’s seven-year-old world record of 26:44, the organisers were confident of the elite field targeting Bernard Kimeli’s 2017 world lead of 27:18 set in Paderborn in April.
“Imagine a new SA record, or even a world record, run in Durban,” said Michael Meyer, managing director of organisers Stillwater Sports.
“That will make a big statement in South African athletics circles, and it is bound to raise the level of competition, and hopefully inspire international athletes to race more in South Africa.”