Local and international athletes will lock horns in Cape Town on Sunday, as they target the world best over the rarely run 12km distance at the fourth annual FNB Cape Town 12 OneRun road race.
Defending champion Morris Gachaga of Kenya leads the foreign onslaught after setting a global best of 33:27 to win last year’s contest through the streets of the Mother City.
Firing a warning at his opponents, Gachaga displayed superb form earlier this season, clocking 59:36 to finish fifth at the RAK Ras Al Khaimah Half-Marathon in the UAE.
He was included in the entry list alongside the likes of fellow Kenyan Noah Kipkemboi, who recorded an impressive 15km personal best of 42:43 in Nijmegen in November, and 22-year-old Ugandan Abdallah Manda, who held a handy 10km best of 28:20.
“I have good memories of that race (last year) and want to do well,” Gachaga said.
“I am in great shape, and if things go well, maybe I can better my 33:27 and lower the world best.”
The local line-up should be spearheaded by national 10km record holder Stephen Mokoka, who set the SA 12km best of 33:34 to win the race in 2016.
After finishing sixth in the 10 000m final at the recent Gold Coast Commonwealth Games, Mokoka is set to feature alongside in-form compatriot David Manja, who beat an international field to win the Two Oceans Half-Marathon in March.
“If we go through 10km in around 28 minutes, we can break Morris’ record… that last 800m of the race is incredibly fast,” Mokoka said.
Meanwhile, Commonwealth Games 10 000m champion Stella Chesang of Uganda was expected to turn out as the firm favourite in the women’s race.
She was up against local favourite Kesa Molotsane, who recently bagged the 5 000m and 10 000m double at the SA Student Championships, and Western Cape star Nolene Conrad.