Comrades gold medallist and Nedbank Running Club (NRC) elite athlete Gerda Steyn showed the French how South Africans tackle hills when she raced to victory at a Bastille Day Race in Sainte-Foy, known for its very hilly and challenging courses.
“It felt like a 13km long Constantia Nek,” said Steyn after her 15km race in Downtown Fenton on Saturday. Steyn, who placed second at this year’s Comrades Marathon, has spent some well-deserved recovery time in the UK and French countryside after her brilliant Comrades performance. But judging by her recent performance in France it seems she is rearing to go again. “What a great week of running and racing! Running up mountains is a whole new world of endurance and enjoyment. Festive vibes at yesterday’s Bastille Day race in our local town. Trust the French to serve wine, bread and cheese at the finish,” said Steyn.
Her win followed another podium position a week earlier when she placed second at the Vertical K2 Villaroger The Arcs 2018 race. Climbing up to 3200m altitude to finish at the summit of the Aiguille Rouge is no easy feat! But this is clearly Steyn’s type of race as she placed second lady. "Amazing views from above the clouds as we climbed up to 3200m altitude in the K2 Villaroger Vertical Kilometer. What an experience and definitely a good way to step out of that comfort zone! There’s no better place."
Steyn added that her speed training would start soon. “I’m looking forward to getting back on the road with some short distance races lined up in SA.”
On the local front NRC athletes did well despite very cold conditions over the most of the country the past weekend. Four podium positions were achieved in icy conditions at the Rundela27 held in Johannesburg. Phillip Phakgwayo dashed to a first place overall finish (and 1st Veteran) in the 27km event while team mate Rutendo Nyahoro finished first lady overall in the 13.5km race.
More great performances were seen at the Fairbridge Mall 15km in Brackenfell in Cape Town with another seven podium positions achieved across the various age categories. And in KwaZulu-Natal as well as Pretoria NRC athletes dashed to glory clinching another three top spots.
FAIRBRIDGE MALL 15 KM, BRACKENFELL, 14 JULY
1. Mthandazo Qhina (NRC) 49:25
3. Vakalisa Kopolo (NRC) 52:24
1. Andrew Cooper (NRC) 58:10
1. Shiraz Shakeel (NRC) 65:33
2. Amy Abrahams (NRC) 61:16
1. Obertina Kanyongo (NRC/ZIM) 65:36
3. Olga Howard (NRC) 68:28
AFRIFORUM SPRINGBOK VASBYT 25 KM & 10 KM, PRETORIA (VOORTREKKER MONUMENT), 14 JULY
3. Cherise Sanders (NRC) 2:06:38.
1. Moses Njuguna (NRC/KEN) 41:09
THE SUPER SPAR WATERFALL 10KM FAST AND FLAT 10KM, FOREST HILLS, 15 JULY
3. Zama Mokoena (NRC) 39:38
1. Zama Mokoena 39:38
RUNDELA27, 15km & 27km, JHB, 15 JULY
3. Phillip Phakgwayo (NRC) 1:51:48 (1st Vet)
4. Sibusiso Nzima (NRC) 1:53:59
1. Phillip Phakgwayo (NRC) 1:51:48
2. Kenneth Lethole (NRC) 1:54:50
1. Rutendo Nyahora (NRC) 56:21
CROSS-COUNTRY, KZN LEAGUE MEETING (10th), PIETERMARITZBURG, 7 JULY
2. Thobani Chagwe (NRC) 33:01 ?
9. Melusi Mthembu (NRC) 41:58 ?
4. Hleziphi Ncayiyana (NRC) 51:46