Modern Athlete Magazine Issue 127, February 2020 - Page 9

ADVERTORIAL If Gerda can #RunClean, so can the rest of us! Soon after the recent Comrades Marathon, a video clip went viral on social media showing women’s winner and new Up Run record holder Gerda Steyn literally leading by example when it comes to not littering during road races. T he standout performance of the 2019 Comrades Marathon saw Gerda Steyn win the women’s race in a scintillating 5:58:53, finishing a remarkable 17 th overall. Her performance shattered the previous Up Run record by over 10 minutes, and she became the first woman to break six hours in the Up Run, and only the fourth to go sub-six in the race’s history. But she still made the effort to make sure her race waste was not left on the road! While leading the race, Gerda was accompanied by an SABC cameraman on a motorbike, ‘filming’ her for the live TV broadcast of the race. Running at full speed and clearly on pace to shatter the record, she was ‘caught’ on camera taking some rubbish out of her crop top and throwing it in a dustbin alongside the road – without slowing down or losing any time. A short extract of this was converted into a video by paddler Hayley Nixon, the Durban-based 2016 World Surfski Series Champion and 2017 ICF Ocean Racing Champion, and posted to Facebook. Within days it had gone viral, and to date has been viewed over 380,000 times! As Hayley wrote with her original post, “Did anyone else notice Gerda consciously throw her rubbish in the dustbin en route to winning @comradesmarathon and beating the record? What a woman! This is a goose-bump moment for me, @gerdarun you are an incredible ambassador for sport, women, men and the environment! We have no excuse, thank you for setting such an amazing example for us all!” If Gerda can win the Comrades Marathon in a new course record and still make the effort to #runclean, wouldn’t it be great if the rest of the running community could try to follow her example, by using the dustbins, carrying waste until a dustbin is available, or carrying their own water in a pack or bottle? It doesn’t require that much effort to do, and shouldn’t cost you any time, either. Just think how much cleaner our race routes would be, and how much less plastic the sport would be leaving behind in the environment. Gerda has shown that it can be done, even if you’re a world class athlete running at top speed! If you haven’t seen it, watch the video below. Think before you throw – #runclean! 9