Big names confirmed for Durban 10km race

05 September 2017 - 08:12 By Matthew Savides
Joshua Kiprui Cheptegei of Uganda.
Joshua Kiprui Cheptegei of Uganda.
Image: Roger Sedres/ImageSA/Gallo Images

The world's second-best 10‚000m runner‚ Uganda’s Joshua Cheptegei‚ will headline the FNB Durban CITYSURFRUN - as organisers make good on a promise to make this the fastest 10km in the world.

Currently the best time set in 2017 is 27m 18s‚ by Bernard Kimeli of Kenya.

Cheptegei won silver at the 2017 World Championship‚ finishing behind now-retired Mo Farah.

National 10km record holder Stephen Mokoka has also been confirmed to take part in the race in Durban on October 8.

“We believe South Africa deserves to see the world’s best compete on our soil‚ racing against South Africa’s best‚” said Michael Meyer‚ managing director of Stillwater Sports‚ the organisers of the race.

“Having the best athletes in the world competing in South Africa raises the level of competition for our athletes. This‚ in turn‚ raises the performance of our South African athletes. When these athletes line up in international races‚ they can do so with confidence. It is a win-win situation. Our athletes’ standards improve and South Africa gets to see the world’s best live.”

The “fast and flat” course starts in front of the Moses Mabhida Stadium and finishes on the famed Golden Mile.

Cheptegei said he was looking forward to the race.

“Durban‚ I will see you on October 8. I am looking forward to this and want to run a very fast time. It is a great honour for me to be invited to this race and I will do my best to make sure it is all everyone expects‚” he said.

Upon hearing that Cheptegei will be on the start line‚ Mokoka said he was relishing the challenge.

“This is great news. Joshua is a very good racer. I competed against him in London at the World Championships in the 10‚000m‚ where he finished just behind Mo Farah. It is great that Stillwater Sports is bringing this calibre of athletes to South Africa. It inspires us‚” he said.

He hoped this would push him to beat his own national record of 27m 38s.

“When we race against these athletes at home‚ we must put on a show. The course is flat. With athletes like Joshua Cheptegei in the field‚ it will be fast. I think that I can break my own SA record‚” he said.

If Mokoka - or any other SA runner - does set a new national record‚ they will get a R300‚000 bonus. That increases to R500‚000 if the world record of 26m 44s is broken.

“When organisers offer these incentives‚ athletes are sure to put their hearts on the line. You will be treated to a showdown in Durban‚” said Cheptegei.

If he is to win the cash‚ Cheptegei will have to knock a minute off his personal best of 27m 46s.

“The athletes are hungry. And if they put on a good show they deserve to be rewarded‚” Meyer said.

“Imagine a new SA record or even a world record run in Durban. That will make a big statement in South African athletics circles‚ and is bound to raise the level of competition and hopefully inspire international athletes to race more in South Africa.”