Wesley Botton
Chief sports writer
2 minute read
5 Feb 2021
12:05 pm

Tokyo Olympics dream keeping Gerda Steyn running and motivated

Wesley Botton

The versatile distance runner's season has been hit hard by race cancellations, but she remains hopeful that the Games will go ahead.

Gerda Steyn, the winner of the 94th Comrades Marathon on June 9, 2019 in Durban, is staying in good shape at her training base in Dubai. Picture: Getty Images

Though her 2021 campaign has already been severely impacted by the ongoing pandemic, road running star Gerda Steyn says her potential Olympic debut is keeping her motivated as she embarks on the new season.

After clocking 32:33 over 10km last week – just nine seconds outside her personal best – Steyn was expected to chase a fast time at the RAK Half-Marathon in the UAE later this month, but the event was cancelled due to Covid concerns.

This week, any plans she had of running the Two Oceans ultra-marathon in Cape Town in April were also scrapped for the second year in a row, denying her another defence of the title she won in 2019.

Steyn, however, said she wasn’t letting the cancellation of events affect her motivation.

“I love training on a daily basis, so I will definitely keep my fitness up,” she said from her base in Dubai.

“If I learned anything last year it was just to keep working hard, stay positive and look for opportunities.”

While road running was operating off a skeleton calendar, and her Comrades Marathon title defence in June was also likely to be postponed for another year, Steyn was hopeful that she would have a chance to compete on the Olympic stage at the rescheduled Tokyo Games in August.

Her plans also included a standard marathon in Europe in April, with some major international events still offering elite road running contests in the absence of the amateur masses.

“I’m looking at the first half of the year as preparation for the Olympic marathon,” said Steyn, who has established herself as one of South Africa’s most versatile distance runners.

“I want to be really ready for it, so I’m just keeping fingers crossed, but at this stage I’m quite certain it will go ahead.

“I know it will look different in many aspects, but at the moment I’m using the Olympics as my biggest motivator.”

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