Gerda Steyn to prepare for Olympic marathon in France

Gerda Steyn to prepare for Olympic marathon in France

Three-time Comrades Marathon champion Gerda Steyn is set to head to France to prepare for the upcoming Olympic Games.

After successfully defending her Ultimate Human Race title in the 85km Up Run in Pietermaritzburg on Sunday, Steyn will now turn her attention to her second Olympic Marathon appearance scheduled for August. 

She joins Irvette Van Zyl and Cian Oldknow in the three-woman Team SA marathon squad, and is aiming to surpass her 15th-place finish in Tokyo last time out.

"I'm going to France from now all the way until the Olympics, so I'll just be training and I'm not really in any races, unless I can find something nearby," said Steyn.

"But the base where I'll be training is quite remote, so there won't be any races to do that are sort of easy access, like we have, for instance, in Johannesburg, etc.

"So I don't see myself really doing any other races before the Olympic Games."

Steyn set a new record of 5:49:46 seconds at yesterday’s Comrades, earning over R2 million in prize money for surpassing her previous record by 10 minutes. 

She plans to invest her winnings for her retirement from the sport.

"There was such a huge increase in the prize money, and the extra bonus they've given for the average pace record – for us as athletes, that's massive, there's no other way t describe it" she said.

"It's our bread and butter, it's what we do for a living, and without that we have to do a second job, or a different job, which means you would not be able to focus purely on running.

"In return, our performances will suffer if we are to do another job during the day instead of racing, so it is huge for us as athletes.

"Personally, I'm so grateful for this, it means the world to me, and I already though about what I'll be doing with my prize money – maybe saving up for one day when I can't earn anymore."

READ: Steyn sets sights on Olympic Games after historic record-breaking Comrades