Irvette van Zyl believes she is on the verge of joining distance running icons Elana Meyer and Colleen de Reuck as the only South African women to dip under the 32-minute barrier over 10km, after shattering her personal best to finish third at the FNB CitySurf Run in Durban on Sunday.
Van Zyl displayed stunning form to cross the line in 32:06, clocking the fastest 10km time by a local woman in 17 years, just four months after giving birth to her second child.
Ugandan Stella Chesang won in 31:14, shattering the 27-yearold SA all-comers’ record of 31:33 which had been held by Meyer.
Another Ugandan, defending champion Mercyline Chelangat, grabbed second place in 31:33, equalling Meyer’s former mark.
“I’m very happy with my performance,” Van Zyl said.
“I think I started off a bit fast, and I died a bit in the last two kays, but if you don’t try you won’t succeed.
“I just missed the sub-32 mark, but I think I’m getting used to the fast pace now and hopefully in the next race I run I can do it.”
The men’s race was equally impressive, with Uganda strengthening its grip on the event as Joshua Cheptegei earned the win in 27:16, rocketing along the beach front to rip 12 seconds off the SA all-comers’ record he set at the inaugural edition of the race last year.
Swiss athlete Julien Wanders also took advantage of the flat, fast course, setting a European record of 27:32 in second place.
Though he had not been touted among the pre-race favourites, just three weeks after winning the Cape Town Marathon, Stephen Mokoka did well to finish sixth in 28:18, as the first SA athlete across the line.
“I knew I was capable of this performance and it gives me a lot of hope for the future,” Cheptegei said.