Q&A with Gerda Steyn

Gerda Steyn became the first woman to run the gruelling TTOM Ultra-marathon route in sub 3:30 in 2022, in an official time of 3:29:42. The 32-year-old returns this year in a bid to be crowned champion for an unprecedented fourth consecutive time, while running as the current record-holder.

Gerda now runs for the Totalsports sponsored Phantane Athletics Club and we are beyond proud to have Gerda running in the club colours.

We caught up with her, on what her race outlook is to conquer the local race calendar this year.

How has your preparation been for this year’s TTOM?
Preparation has been going really well so far this year. I feel like I am in the position where I wanted to be at this time in terms of fitness. I have been doing a combination of long runs, hill workouts, speed sessions, etc. and have been enjoying the build-up which is an important aspect for me, so now I am just looking forward to race day!

How are you feeling for the race this year?
Excitement is the first word that comes to mind. The Totalsports Two Oceans Ultramarathon is one of my favorite races in the world and no doubt that this year’s race will also live up to those expectations!

Last year you broke the Ultra-marathon record, are you looking to create history again this year?
Last year was a very special race, and breaking the record was a long-standing goal of mine. After narrowly missing the record in 2019, it was an absolute unforgettable day for me! This year, my goal Is to defend my title and to become the first ever person to win the race in four consecutive years. I know that there will be fierce competition, so I am doing my very best to be in the best shape possible.

How are you going to approach this year’s race, any tactical changes from last year?
The Totalsport Two Oceans ultramarathon is known to be a tactical race and it strategy is very important. The race is back-end loaded, meaning that the challenging sections come after the halfway mark. My strategy will be similar to previous years, in that I run at a comfortable effort in the first half, conserving enough energy for a strong second half.

Which adidas performance running shoe do you prefer to train in and why?
My preferred everyday training shoe is the adidas SolarGlide 6. I use them for easy runs, recovery runs and long runs.

For speed-workouts and tempo runs, I use mostly adizero adios Pro 3.

What do you like about the adidas Pro3, and why is it your preferred racing shoe?
The adizero adios Pro 3 feels light, responsive and snappy. The lightsrike pro technology provides a lot of protection from the pounding of the road. I particularly enjoy the supportiveness of the shoes on the steep descends of the TTOM route.

What are your 3 race tips for first time TTOM ultra-marathon runners?

  1. Make sure to practice your fueling strategies before race day.
  2. Enjoy the race and take time to appreciate the wonderful atmosphere and scenery!
  3. Don’t be scared and don’t put too much pressure on yourself, believe in your abilities because you have worked hard for this!!

Lastly, how do you plan to recover from TTOM to prepare for Comrades?
With my training I have already started to take this into account and am fortunate to have gained experience 2019 when I won both races in the same year. Preparing for races that are closely scheduled is different than preparing for a single race. In between the two races, I am planning to be extra cautious and not to overdo my training. I am confident that it will work well, and I will be focusing on staying healthy and injury free rather than taking big risks.

We look forward to watching Gerda’s race calendar unfold and wish her all the best for her the year.


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