All eyes, well at least those in the front of the pack, will be focused on the target of 33min 31sec at Sunday’s FNB Cape Town 12 ONERUN road race in Cape Town.
That’s the official world best time recorded over the 12-kilometre distance, set by the late Joseph Kimani of Kenya in Indiana, USA in 1997.
Now it’s up to local stars Stephen Mokoka and Elroy Gelant to take on Emmanuel Bett and visiting athletes Daniel Salel and Timothy Toroitich.
At last year’s race, Bett and Salel were one second off the time after going toe to toe in the inaugural event. Neither Bett nor Salel could get any advantage as the lead changed three times in the final kilometre down Bree Street in Cape Town.
In the end Bett was awarded the win with both credited with a 33:32 time.
It was a clean sweep for the foreign contingent as Toroitich claimed the final podium position. Those podium positions are under serious threat in 2016 as Mokoka has entered the fray, as has Gelant, the first South African home from last year.
Mokoka set the South African record over 10km in 2015, clocking 27:38 in the Great Manchester Run where he finished second. In so doing, he took 22 seconds off the record set by Matthews ‘Loop n Val’ Motshwarateu in 1980.
His form of late has also been exceptional and there’s every reason to believe he can break the world best if needed to win the race; and Mokoka does not want to see the Kenyans take the laurels again.
Mokoka has opted out of racing the marathon in Rio and will focus on the 5 000m and 10 000m which means he will be racing on fresh legs come Sunday.
Gelant too is in great form after having beaten Mokoka to the national 10km title in February and setting an Olympic qualifier in the 5 000m on 11 March this year.
After his win in 2015, Bett announced straight after the race that he would be back in 2016 to challenge the time. This makes for a mouth-watering prospect come race day.
Starting time is 9am at Woodbridge Island, Milnerton and finish is the FNB Building (corner of Mechau and Bree Streets in Cape Town’s CBD.
Picture of last year’s action courtesy of Tobias Ginsberg