Nedbank running club green dream team athlete Gerda Steyn is once again ready to step onto the World stage where she competes in her 3rd World marathon majors on Sunday in London.
With Coronavirus taking over the World and events being cancelled; Steyn had this year eyed a repeat Two Oceans victory as well as making her Olympic debut where she was set to run in the women’s marathon. That all came to a halt with the virus cancelling all postponing events. London was originally going to be run in April and then was postponed to October. The 40th running of the marathon had big plans and as time went on and situations didn’t improve, the 40th edition of the race has changed to an elite only event on a totally different course.
The 2020 race will be run on a non-traditional course consisting of 19.6 laps around St James’s Park taking in The Mall, Horse Guards Parade, Birdcage Walk and Buckingham Palace. Besides that change, the entire event will be staged in what event organizers call, a ‘secure biosphere.’ All elite athletes, coaches and staff are tested before leaving for the event and once again on arrival. There will be one more test on Friday ahead of the race. Already one athlete and coach have tested positive for Covid19 prior to leaving and were not allowed to attend.
From the moment the athletes arrive at the athlete hotel, they are not allowed to leave but are able to train in the hotels grounds which provide ample space. On race day, the entire event is secured off and nobody from the public will have access. With majority of elite athletes arriving on Monday, Steyn has decided to do her own thing and only arrive on Thursday.
“Clocking my final race kilometers in my own virtual bubble before I join the real race one on Thursday,” tweeted Steyn. Going into London, Steyn has showed some impressive shape, with a victory in the Cheshire 5km on 28 August where she clocked a personal best time of 15:44.
Nedbank running club national team manager and coach of Steyn, Nick Bester, also indicates that his athlete is ready to rumble. “She has trained really well and didn’t run into any issues such as any injuries or niggles,” said Bester. “On her tempo runs she’s been averaging 3:26 per km feeling very relaxed and her km repeats averaged around 3:09 per km so both her speed and endurance is there.”
With a personal best time of 2:27:48 from last year’s New York Marathon which is a much tougher course than what she will face on Sunday, Steyn looks set to run something very impressive. “We hope for something around 2:25 which I think she is very capable of, but it will all depend as well that the weather is kind to the runners.”
Colleen De Reuck holds the South African marathon record with her 2:26:35 from the Berlin Marathon back in 1996 and this will definitely be a time that Steyn will be looking out for.
The Nedbank running club wishes Gerda all the best for Sunday. Let’s all show our support for her by watching the event live on Sunday morning on Supersport.