Elroy's stepping stone | SASCOC - SASCOC

Elroy’s stepping stone

By Mark Etheridge

He may have brought up the rear of the field but Elroy Gelant’s brave run in the 3000-metre final at the World Indoor track and field championships was no mean feat.

Not only was it a huge learning curve on the tight bends of the Istanbul track but the Potchefstroom based athlete had the consolation of seeing a national record alongside his name.

Gelant, 25, clocked 7min 48.64sec in the final, won by veteran American Bernard Lagat in 7:41.44 but was by no means disgraced in a quality field.

His time meant that he broke Juan van Deventer’s previous indoor mark of 7:49.91 run in Moscow two years ago.

And one must remember that Van Deventer was an Olympic Games finalist in the 1,500m four years ago in Beijing.

One thing’s for sure, Gelant revelled in the experience and walked off the track with extra belief. “It was really a great experience to have made it through to the finals and to run against the best in the 3000m/5000m distance,” Gelant told Road to London 2012┬á before boarding the plane home to South Africa. “I’ve learned a lot from this indoors and I see it as a stepping stone of growth for me as an athlete.

“The race was okay but it also showed me areas where I need to improve if I want to compete against these world-class runners. Going into the race I felt a lack of confidence but I think that’s normal if you up against a good field of runners for the first time.

“All in all this was really a good stepping stone for me to prepare for London and what to expect there.”

Gelant’s next race is expected to be the Yellow Pages meeting in Stellenbosch on 20 March where he’s expected to run the 5000m and who knows, even consider an attempt at Shadrack Hoff’s 1995 national record of 13:14.16, set in Gateshead, England.