Wesley Botton

By Wesley Botton

Chief sports journalist

With another win in the bag, Gerda Steyn targets Olympic marathon

"I think the route in Paris is quite interesting and it will definitely suit the stronger athletes."

WIth one of her major goals of the season out the way, versatile distance runner Gerda Steyn believes she has enough time to recover before having a real crack at the Olympic marathon in Paris in August.

Steyn was phenomenal on Saturday, charging to an impressive victory at the Two Oceans ultra-marathon in Cape Town, completing the 56km race in 3:26:54.

She took more than two minutes off her own course record (3:29:06), becoming the first athlete to win the popular annual race five times.

“I will now recover from this race and then start my preparations (for Paris). I always do three (big) races in a year so I don’t think this is any different,” Steyn said afterwards.

Tough route

Unlike most global championship marathons, the route for the Paris Games is quite challenging, with a hilly course expected to level out the playing field.

Steyn, who finished 15th in the marathon at the Tokyo Olympics three years ago, hoped the route would give the rest of the world a chance to put up a fight against the lightning fast Kenyan and Ethiopian athletes who tend to dominate flat races on the international circuit.

“I think the route in Paris is quite interesting and it will definitely suit the stronger athletes who are used to hilly marathons,” Steyn said.

“It brings a different dynamic because it’s not the fast course we usually see in championship racing.”

Two Oceans highlights

Launching a brave effort behind Steyn on Saturday, Irvette van Zyl took second place in the women’s race at Two Oceans in 3:29:30.

Van Zyl, who has also qualified for the Olympic marathon later this season, became only the second woman in the history of the gruelling event to dip under the 3:30:00 barrier.

In the men’s race, Onalenna Khonkhobe triumphed in 3:09:30, becoming the first South African to secure victory since 2019.

Lloyd Bosman, who was locked with Khonkhobe in a tightly contested battle for the line after making a late break, held on to finish second in 3:09:58.

Thabang Mosiako won the Two Oceans half-marathon on Sunday in 1:04:40 and Blandina Makatisi of Lesotho took the women’s race in 1:13:52.

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road running Two Oceans Marathon