World U20 Cross Country second place finisher Amdework Tadese and Swiss sensation Julien Wanders will round off the impressive line-up of athletes that will toe the line at the inaugural FNB Durban 10K CITYSURFRUN this coming Sunday, 08 October 2017.
Tadese and Wanders join stars such as Joshua Cheptegei – second in the 10 000m at the World Athletics Championships in August this year, Morris Gachaga – the fastest man ever in the world over 12km, South Africa’s 10km record holder, Stephen Mokoka and rising star Thabang Mosiako.
The Ethiopian, Tadese was a mere three seconds behind the winner of the U20 World Cross Country 8km race held in Kampala in March, and boasts a best of 13:14.52 over 5000m as well as a 28:00.14 over 10 000m – not bad for an 18-year-old.
Wanders has taken the unusual decision to move to Eldoret in Kenya and spends around 8 months of the year at his training base. It seems to be paying dividends as the 21-year-old Swiss does not lack confidence, clearly a product of spending so much time training with the best in the world.
“They only have two legs, just like me,” when asked about the calibre of his opposition. “I will run my best, hope to improve my PB (28:49 on the road) and will try for a position.”
Wanders is the Swiss National Junior Record Holder in the 5000m, running 13:48.21 in Oordegem in 2015. He has run Personal Best’s for the 1500m (3:44.74 – Zurich, 22 July), 5000m (13:37.48 – Oordegem, 27 May), 10 000m (28:06.17 – Huelva, 8 April) and in the Half Marathon (61:43 – Milano, 19 March) in 2017. Given his consistency this year, there is no reason not to believe that he will break his 10km best time. “In this field, and if the pace is right, I know I can go below 28 minutes for the 10km.”
Morris Gachaga in the meantime has confirmed that he is targeting a time of under-27 minutes. This would mean running at a pace of 2:42/km or faster if he is to become only the second athlete to ever dip below the magical 27-minute mark. The only athlete to have ever gone faster than 27 minutes is Kenya’s Leonard Patrick Komon when ran 26:44 in Utrecht in 2010. The fastest time in the world this year is 27:10, run by Bernard Kimeli in Prague on 9 September.
“My training has been going well and I believe that a sub 27 is possible,” said Gachaga from Kenya after his last time trial on Wednesday, 27 September. “I have prepared specifically for this race. In May I made history by running the fastest ever 12km (at the FNB Cape Town 12 ONERUN), and I would like to make history again in Durban on 8 October. I have trained hard and I am ready for it.”
It is all shaping up to be the fastest race ever seen on South African soil and could well be the injection needed for South African’s to make the jump to the next level in road running.
photo credit Jiro Mochizuki