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Xaba to run race with one eye on Olympics

Motsepe event perfect chance for athlete to work on her speed

Nkareng Matshe Sports editor
Glenrose Xaba will be one of the favourites to bag first place in the ASA 10 km championship.
Glenrose Xaba will be one of the favourites to bag first place in the ASA 10 km championship.
Image: Veli Nhlapo

Glenrose Xaba takes another step towards fulfilling her Olympics dreams on Sunday when she will be running in the Athletics SA 10km Championship, taking place at Marks Park in Johannesburg.

For Xaba, the event – which forms part of the Motsepe Foundation Race to Equality that includes a half-marathon and a 5km race – is a perfect chance for her to work on her speed which, she says, will boost her bid to make the cut for the Paris Olympics in the winter.

“I want to improve on my speed,” said the soft-spoken runner who will be one of the headline athletes at Sunday’s event. “For me to qualify for the 5,000m or 10,000m at the Olympics, I need to finish stronger and that’s what I will be working on [at Sunday’s race]. Speed will make me stronger to be able to run at under three minutes in the last laps.”

Xaba has yet to qualify for what would be her first Olympics, as she still has to run the requisite entry standard time of 14:52 for the 5,000m, or 30:40 (10,000m).

But she’s hopeful she’ll achieve her goal in the next few months, hence her participation in the Race to Equality.

Xaba, 29, acknowledged she would have improved on her speed if the women field in SA had faster athletes. “It’s difficult to qualify [for the Olympics] because we don’t produce too many fast fields in SA. Competition in the women field is not that tough. Perhaps if ASA brought East African athletes here, they could push us to run better times.

“But I have been working on my speed by running the 800m and the 1,500m with the aim of having a go at the 5,000m or 10,000m qualification time. If I make either, I will be very happy to participate in my first Olympics.”

Xaba will be one of the favourites to bag first place in the ASA 10km championship, which comes with a cool R20,000 prize, while first place in the half-marathon banks R42,000.

The half-marathon will start at 7am, while the ASA 10km Championships – which is by invitation only through an ASA province – is at 7.30am.

The start time for the 5km is 7.45am.  

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