Wesley Botton
Chief sports writer
2 minute read
17 Apr 2022
10:02 am

Gerda Steyn breaks 33-year-old Two Oceans record

Wesley Botton

Irvette van Zyl also did well to dip under the previous record in second position.

Gerda Steyn celebrates her victory after breaking the women's record at the Two Oceans. Picture: Gallo Images

Gerda Steyn produced another spectacular performance on Sunday, shattering one of the longest standing records in South African road running, while Ethiopian ultra-marathon debutant Edndale Belachew won a late sprint to clinch the men’s title at the Totalsports Two Oceans 56km race in Cape Town.

Steyn was simply spectacular, securing her third straight victory at the popular race by storming home in 3:29:42 as she broke the women’s record of 3:30:36 which had been set by Frith van der Merwe in 1989.

After sitting back patiently in a quick contest, the 32-year-old South African launched a late surge to pass compatriot Irvette van Zyl with just two kilometres remaining.

“It was an incredible race, fast from the gun, and there were sparks from the first kilometre,” said Steyn, who pocketed R250 000 for the victory and another R250 000 for the record.

“I was a little worried around the marathon (42km) mark because I did not feel very strong, but I kept my faith and I feel so blessed to have won the race today.”

‘Vasbyt’

Van Zyl also did well to dip under the previous record, holding on to finish second in 3:30:31. She was well clear of Ehtiopia’s Amelework Bosho, who clocked 3:34:16 in third place just six weeks after winning the Nedbank Runified 50km race in Gqeberha, as the foreign challenge faded in the closing stages.

“I got quite a fright when Gerda caught me and my legs buckled a bit, but I finished the race with a smile,” Van Zyl said.

“I was cramping a bit, but I felt really good and I’m really happy. It was so fast, we just stayed patient and managed to catch the leaders, and then it was just ‘vasbyt’ to the end.”

Belachew, meanwhile, left it late in a hard-fought battle against Nkosikhona Mhlakwana, kicking in a sprint finish on the grass at the UCT sport fields to win by just three seconds as he crossed the line in 3:09:05.

Sboniso Sikhakhane finished third in 3:11:31 and defending champion Bongmusa Mthembu delivered another solid result in fourth place (3:12:06).

On Saturday, Moses Tarakinyu of Zimbabwe won the men’s Two Oceans half-marathon in 1:03:31, two seconds ahead of Elroy Gelant, and another Zimbabwean athlete, Fortunate Chidzivo, took the women’s race in 1:14:49.