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Athletics

Gerda Steyn knocks more than a minute off her SA marathon record

Gerda Steyn, seen here winning the 2023 Comrades Marathon earlier this year, has qualified for the 2024 Paris Olympics.
Gerda Steyn, seen here winning the 2023 Comrades Marathon earlier this year, has qualified for the 2024 Paris Olympics.
Image: Darren Stewart/Gallo Images

Gerda Steyn knocked more than a minute off her South African women’s marathon record, clocking 2hr 24min 03sec in Valencia on Sunday morning.

The Comrades champion, who holds both the Up and Down best times, set her previous 2:25:28 42.2km mark in Siena in April 2021 and is well inside the 2:26:50 Olympic qualifying standard for the 2024 Paris Games.

More impressively Steyn became the fastest South African woman over the distance, surpassing the 2:25:15 by Elana Meyer at the 1994 Boston Marathon, which didn’t count for records because it was deemed an aided course.

Steyn finished 15th at the 2020 Tokyo Games. 

Irvette van Zyl, who won the Soweto Marathon last month, finished in 2:27:29.

The 2:26:11 she clocked in Valencia last year will get her to France as long as two more local athletes don’t go faster between now and the end of the marathon qualifying window on April 30 next year.

Athletes in all other events have until June 30 to achieve the qualifying criteria.

Van Zyl has been to three Olympics, but is still looking to complete a marathon. She was dogged by injuries at all of them, either not being able to start or finish the races. 


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