GOLDEN GERDA AIMS FOR FIFTH DUBAI MARATHON 10KM CROWN
Dubai (UAE): With four successive victories to her name in the annual 10km Road Race, South African golden girl Gerda Steyn will be a red-hot favourite to make it five in a row when the Dubai Marathon gets underway on Sunday (January 7).
Held under the auspices of the Dubai Sports Council, the Dubai Marathon’s 10km event is always the most popular race in terms of athlete number. But if any woman is to wrestle the crown from Steyn, they will need to be in the form of their lives.
“I’ve been very fortunate to have enjoyed a wonderful year in 2023, with the three most memorable days being when I won the Two Oceans Marathon and the Comrades Marathon in South Africa, followed by running a new marathon national record in Spain in December,” said the modest 33-year-old Dubai-based South African.
At the Valencia Marathon less than a month ago, Steyn finished 11th in a time of 2:24:03 to set a new South African national record at the distance. Although she will kick off the 2024 season with the shorter 10km distance in Dubai, it’s hardly a surprise considering her near ownership of the event.
“I’ve run the Dubai 10km race every year since 2018 and have won it four times, so I can’t think of a better way to start the new year than to be a part of it once again,” she added. “My aim is to win the 10km again in 2024, and even though I won’t be running the full marathon itself, I still get to be part of the iconic event.”
The Dubai Marathon launches what will be a busy year for the adidas runner.
As well as committing to the defence of her Comrades Marathon and Two Oceans Marathon titles in Durban and Cape Town, respectively, South Africa’s fastest-ever female marathon runner will also represent her country at the 2024 Olympics in Paris. It will be her second Olympics, having finished 15th in the Marathon in Sapporo in 2021.
But before all that, there is the small matter of the defence of her Dubai Marathon 10km title on Sunday. Last year, Steyn won in a time of 33:47 over an unfamiliar route at EXPO City Dubai.
But with the 23rd edition of the Dubai Marathon taking place over the fast and flat roads of Umm Suqeim, the quicksilver South African may well have her eyes on the personal best of 32:24 she set over the same surface the last time it was staged there in 2020.
Those looking to make a last-minute date with the 2024 Dubai Marathon can do so through the official website dubaimarathon.org until Saturday (January 6). As an added bonus, those runners who hold a valid UAE residence visa and UAE driving licence can also have the chance to win an EXEED RX, courtesy of EXEED by Al Ghurair, the renowned premium vehicle brand represented by AG Auto in the UAE.
The 2024 Dubai Marathon is supported by the Dubai Sports Council, adidas, Dubai Duty-Free, EXEED by Al Ghurair, the Channel 4 Radio Network, the ITP Media Group, Bisleri Water, Biofreeze, Dubai RTA, Dubai Police, Al Ameen Service, Dubai Municipality and SIRO One Za’abeel, the first fully integrated Fitness + Recovery hotel in Dubai.