by MTHULISI SIBANDA
JOHANNESBURG, (CAJ News) – AFTER overcoming her injuries and back enjoying the best form of her life, multiple award-winning champion, Gerda Steyn, finds herself in a lurch.
This follows the cancellation of local and international races, most recently, the world famous Two Oceans Marathon which she cannot defend for the second consecutive year because of the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.
However, the 30-year-old is not letting the negative turn of events deter her.
She has set her focus on the delayed Olympic Games set for July-September in Tokyo, Japan.
Steyn’s latest setback is the cancellation of the Two Oceans Marathon initially scheduled for Cape Town during the traditional Easter weekend.
This is a double blow for the woman from the maize-farming town of Bothaville in the Free State.
Again, because of the COVID-19, she was unable to defend her title last year after the COVID-19 forced a cancellation.
Organisers of the race known as the world’s most beautiful marathon last Friday confirmed the cancellation of the latest edition because of the restrictions to curb the COVID19..
Steyn argued the cancellation of last year’s Two Oceans came as to a much bigger surprise.
“The cancellation of races was still very new at that time and I was already far into my race preparations,” she said in an interview with CAJ News Africa.
She said the postponement of this year’s edition somewhat was inevitable because of the escalating pandemic.
The pandemic is worst felt in the host country South Africa in the entire continent.
“The cancellation of years race is of course not what we wished for,” Steyn said.
“However, it was expected as many restrictions are still in place and mass races in South Africa as well as the rest of the world are still not taking place at the moment.”
Steyn added, “I can’t even express how much I miss racing the two oceans marathon and I am looking forward for the return of the race!”
She explained the challenges facing a professional athlete, especially when their race schedules were uncertain.
“Having to adjust your training schedule is not easy,” the marathoner said.
“The most important thing is to keep positive and fit and not to give up because races will return even if it takes longer than we thought.”
Steyn’s form has been impressive of late.
At the end of January, she raced to her second-fastest time ever when she won in the Supersports 10km night race in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
This formed part of her preparation for the February 19 Rak Half Marathon but that event also scheduled for UAE has also been postponed.
Her personal best time of 1:10:55 came from the same Rak Half Marathon last year.
“My training in the recent months has gone really well and it is exciting to see a lot of improvement in my form. I feel like I am in better shape than I have ever been,” Steyn said.
“Unfortunately the RAK Half Marathon has also been cancelled but I plan to continue with my training and racing a marathon in April as well as the Olympics in August.”
Originally due to take place in July-August 2020, the Olympics were postponed as a result of COVID-19.
– CAJ News