Winning the Comrades ultra-marathon is the greatest honour of her life and still feels unreal, said Gerda Steyn a day after winning the race in a record time.
The former Kovsie student had an incredible race on Sunday, completing the 86,83 km's in a time of 06:09:23, which is a new record for women in the up run. It is more than 10 minutes faster than the previous record of 05:58:54 set in 2006.
It was also the fourth fastest Comrades time ever by a female in the 94-year history of the race.
Greatest honour of my life
Being the Comrades winner is the greatest honour of my life. Thank you to an entire nation for carrying me to the line. It feels like a dream, Steyn said.
The 29-year-old Steyn became the first woman in 30 years to win both the Comrades and Two Oceans in the same year. She also won the Two Oceans in 2018 and came second in the Comrades last year.
Steyn, who studied Quantity Surveying and Construction Management at the University of the Free State (UFS) between 2009 and 2012, said the record time was discussed beforehand.
I went for it
We felt it was possible, but it wasn't my main goal right from the start of the race. At the halfway mark, I saw it was possible and I went for it.
According to Steyn, the media attention since her win is quite intense. But I don't complain. It is such an honour, so I do it with a smile.
At the Two Oceans ultra-marathon in April, she missed out on the 30-year record time by just 53 seconds.
Prof Francis Petersen, UFS Rector and Vice-Chancellor, said Steyn was a proud ambassador of the university. It is always important for me to see how our former students perform. I would like to congratulate her. Well done. She is carrying the Kovsie name with pride, Prof Petersen said.
Source: University of the Free State