If there was any doubt that the 2019 FNB Durban 10K CITYSURFRUN on Sunday 13 October will be the fastest 10km ever run on South African soil, those have been vehemently dispelled with the inclusion of Kenya’s Evaline Chirchir.
Chirchir is barely 21-years-old but already boasts a repertoire that will make any contender sit up and take notice. She has set personal best times in every event that she has competed in, in 2019, everything from 10 000m on the track to the half marathon on the road.
While Sheila Chepkirui is still the odds on favourite for victory on Sunday 13 October, having run the second fastest time ever over 10km with her 29:57 on 7 September this year, Chirchir will be relishing the opportunity to go head to head with the world fastest athlete of 2019.
“I am looking forward to Durban,” said Chirchir. “For me it is important to always challenge the world’s best and my time in Valencia earlier this year shows me that I am getting closer and closer to the top. So I cannot wait for 13 October to take on Sheila (Chepkirui) and the other ladies.”
Chirchir clocked 30:43 in Valencia on 13 January this year, a time that currently ranks her 8th on the 2019 world ranking lists. In that race, Chirchir ran 15:09 for 5km. Her run in Valencia set off a string of impressive performances and personal best times in six different distances. Those recent results show that she is coming into peak form at just the right time.
At the Kenyan trials for the World Championships in Doha for the 10 000m, Chirchir clocked 32:06.74 in Nairobi on 21 August. Nairobi lies at 1795m altitude. On September 15, Chirchir lined up at the prestigious and fast Copenhagen Half Marathon. This was only her third ever race over the distance and saw her improve from a best of 68:07 (Gifu, Japan – 28 April) to 66:22, a time that currently sees her ranked 13th on the world ranking lists for 2019. Chirchir finished second in Copenhagen, however on her way to an almost 2 minute personal best time, Chirchir recorded times of 46:55 at 15km; 62:49 at 20km, before crossing the line in her new half marathon best time of 66:22. A week later and Chirchir took line honours in Zaandam at the Dam tot Damloop in the Netherlands. Clearly Chirchir is finding her best form at just the right time for the FNB Durban 10K CITYSURFRUN.
Adding luster to an already deep women’s field is the 2019 FNB Joburg 10K CITYRUN runner up, Kenya’s Mary Nyaruai Ekiru. The young Kenyan had to give way to inform Tadu Nare of Ethiopia. Nare, a junior, has been giving South Africa’s top ladies a torrid time over 10km in 2019 and showed just why she is such an incredible talent by just missing out on the course record in Johannesburg this year. Nare is also confirmed for the FNB Durban 10K CITYSURFRUN on 13 October, providing Ekiru with the ideal opportunity to turn the tables on Nare. But Ekiru has bigger fish to fry and is looking to challenge for the podium in Durban.
“Mary is in great shape,” says manager Craig Fry. “You do not run 15:35.84 for 5000m at altitude and just miss out on representing Kenya at the World Championships in Doha over 5000m and not be a serious contender in any race that you line up in. Mary was excited to hear that Sheila (Chepkirui), Stella (Chesang – the defending champion) and now Evaline (Chirchir) is also coming. We have never seen such depth in a woman’s race in South Africa. This is exciting.”
A quick glance at the best times of the top women in the field will show just why Fry is exited. Sheila Chepkirui is the fastest women in 2019 with her 29:57 run in Prague on 7 September. It is also the second fastest time ever. Chirchir’s 30:43 is top 8 in the world in 2019. Ekiru’s 10km in Johannesburg was her debut over the distance. Nare boasts a best of 32:36 run in 2019. Add to the field South Africa’s Glenrose Xaba who became only the third South African woman to break 70minutes for the half marathon in August this year and in the process run 32:59 for 10km (she is looking for anything under 32minutes to a 32:20 in Durban), a resurgent Irvette van Zyl and in form Gerda Steyn and you have all the makings of what should go down as the fastest ever women’s 10km seen in South Africa.
The FNB Run Your City Series consists of four events: the FNB Cape Town 12 ONERUN (5th anniversary in 2019), FNB Joburg 10K CITYRUN (4th anniversary in 2019), FNB Durban 10K CITYSURFRUN (3rd anniversary in 2019) and FNB Maputo 10K CITYRUN (inaugural event on 10 November 2019).
Exhilarating mass participation road races, each event celebrates the splendour of its host city. Runners (and walkers) will be treated to a journey that will highlight iconic landmarks and feature lively performances on route.
Over the short period of 5 years, the series has grown to over 40 000 runners in the three cities and has attained IAAF Bronze Label Status in two events (FNB Cape Town 12 ONERUN and FNB Durban 10K CITYSURFRUN). The Durban race is now chasing Gold Label Status. The significance of that cannot be underestimated. Label Status means that the FNB Run Your City Series will attract some of the best athletes in the world, which means that South Africa’s top athletes get to race the best on home soil. As a result, fast times will be recorded on the African Continent.
Over the past 5 years the series has delivered compelling racing and fast times which will now be shared with the world through the process of a Livestream. The FNB Durban 10K CITYSURFRUN will be livestreamed as was the Cape Town leg of the FNB Run Your City Series.
Event: FNB Durban 10K CITYSURFRUN
Date: Sunday 13 October 2019
Venue: Start – Blue Lagoon (Athlone Drive) / Finish – Beachfront Precinct (near The Bike and Bean)
Charities: When entering online runners can choose to support one (or all five) of the event’s charities 1. The Reach For A Dream Foundation, 2. TREE, 3. Durban & Coast SPCA, 4. LIV Village and 5. iThemba Lethu.
Prize Purse: R250 000 / View the entire Prize Purse Breakdown here: http://bit.ly/2MHQ4fd
IN THE NEWS: The FNB Run Your City Series has implemented a Single-Use Plastic (SUP) Management Campaign that aims to drastically reduce the usage of single-use plastics by 85% at all three events. “The aim of the FNB Run Your City Series’ SUP Management Campaign is to drastically reduce the usage of single-use plastics by 85% at all three events. Our ultimate goal is to host a mass participation road running series that is plastic free,” says Michael Meyer, Managing Director Stillwater Sports.
About the FNB Run Your City Series:
FNB is proud to once again bring you the FNB Run Your City Series which comprises of three unique mass participation events that integrate business involvement, family, diversity, investment in community, world class achievement and fun for all participants, both individuals and businesses alike.
Each of the races are developed to take participants through the historical routes around each city, thereby adding a tourism element to each race, making it more than a race but an economic opportunity for each community.
The FNB Run Your City Series is made up of three races around South Africa, namely, the FNB Cape Town 12 ONERUN, the FNB Joburg 10K CITYRUN and the FNB Durban 10K CITYSURFRUN.
For further information please visit www.runyourcityseries.com