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- Olympic champion’s Epic win, big-hearted women’s triumph
Africa’s fastest in Cape Town in search of world bests
- Updated: May 14, 2016
By Mark Etheridge
The continent’s speedsters descend on the southern tip of Africa for a second crack at the world best time for 12 kilometres on the road at Sunday’s FNB Cape Town 12 ONERUN.
Last year saw Kenya’s Emannuel Bett getting the better of countryman Daniel Salel as they chased the world best of 33min 32sec set 31 years ago in Portland, US by another Kenyan, Moses Kigen.
Best and Salel managed to equal that time, now they aim to improve on that.
‘I’m so happy to be back here in SA, we were made to feel very welcome,’ said Bett on Friday. ‘If everything goes well on the day we can most definitely get that one second we left behind here last year.’
‘And South Africa have just as many tough guys that can challenge us, but it just depends on what they’ve been doing in training’
One of those local stars is Stephen Mokoka. ‘I’m very excited to see these shorter distances getting some exposure. Our youth run too many long distance races and our kids mustn’t put their emphasis on races like Comrades and Two Oceans Marathons.
‘The crucial part of Sunday’s race will be the 10km mark, that will determine what’s going to happen in those final two kilometres. And what’s crucial is that the South African guys must work together if we are to have any influence on the outcome.’
The women’s race sees an entirely local flavour with no Kenyans making the trip this year.
That leaves the hard-running Phalula twins, Diana-Lebo and Lebogang to try and break the unbeaten 216 run of a resurgent Irvette van Blerk.
‘This time last year I was six months pregnant with my first child so we can definitely say I’m lighter and faster this time out,’ she laughed. ‘I rested for much of last year so you can definitely say I’m hungry for racing.
‘It’s an odd distance but I’d say the training is pretty much the same as for 10,000 metres.
‘I like the fact that there’s a few little hills, I run better on an undulating course so who knows, the SA record may just come into the equation.’
That record belongs to Elana Meyer and stands at 38:39, 20 years ago.
The big bucks on offer provide plenty of incentive. ‘R40,000 is big bucks for us over this distance,’ said Lebo Phalula.
Added twin Lebogang: ‘We would have liked ton see some international opposition here again but we have Irvette as motivation, to try and break her unbeaten streak. Of course she’s welcome to join us and hunt that SA record.
‘A fast time is definitely on the cards, lets just hope there’s no rain or wind.’
Starting time is 9am at Woodbridge Island, Milnerton and the finish is in Bree Street on the Cape Town foreshore outside the sponsors’ building.
In the picture: (from left to right): Stephan Claassen, Provincial Head FNB Business Western Cape, with defending men’s champion Emmanuel Bett (Kenya) and Michael Meyer, Managing Director of Stillwater Sports. Photo Credit: Shawn Benjamin