Elroy off to Europe | SASCOC - SASCOC

Elroy off to Europe

By Mark Etheridge

The men’s winner was using the weekend’s national 10-kilometre road running championships in Kimberley as an Olympic stepping stoneÔǪ the women’s winner has already qualified for London later this year and it was just another step in her preparations.

Elroy Gelant took the men’s title in 28min 36sec, while Irvette van Blerk strode to victory in the women’s category with a time of 33:21.

Gelant has not yet qualified for the Olympics and this race was all part of his Games plan. “I did the championships as preparation towards Europe to still try and qualify for the Olympics. My goal was to get a top three position,” he told Road to London 2012.

“I knew it was going to be tough, especially against a good field of runners like Steven Mokaka, Gladwin Mzazi, Lucky Mohale and Tshamano Setone.

“We started off relatively well with a good pace for the first kilometre after which it dropped to almost three minutes a kilometre until 5km. After 5km the pace started to pick up drastically but I still felt really comfortable with the pace.

“After 7km we were still a big bunch of almost 15 athletes. I realized I had a chance of winning after 8km when I still felt comfortable. I moved away from the group with about 1.2km to go. It was a really nice race and I enjoyed it.

“I’ll be leaving for Europe on Tuesday where I will run in Ostrava [Czech Republic] on Friday ÔÇô a┬á 3000m against a strong field and I’m looking to set a good platform for my first 5000m in Huelva, Spain on 7 June.”

As for Van Blerk who has already qualified for the London Games with a fine run at the London Marathon last month, she didn’t have it all her way, being pushed all the easy by Lebo Phalula.

“Wow, I was happy to win this race, the third time in a row that I’m SA 10km champion. I was fifth after the first kilometre and slowly moved into second spot and got closer and closer to Lebo.

“When I went past her just before 5km, she wouldn’t give in without a fight and it was only at 7km that I managed to open a bit of a gap but it was only about 50m and I had to work very hard over the last 3km.

“But I was all smiles when I hit the line and realised I’d done enough to win!”