Multiple SA record holder, Dominique Scott-Efurd , will be returning home for the first time in 18 months to race in the inaugural FNB Durban 10K CITYSURFRUN on Sunday, October 8.
Last seen racing on SA soil at the SA Track and Field Championships in Stellenbosch in April 2016, Scott-Efurd is looking forward to returning home.
"I am incredibly excited to be racing in Durban. It is almost 18 months since I was home. To be able to line up for this race is a huge privilege," said Scott-Efurd from the USA.
Scott-Efurd has had an incredible 2017, setting national records in the indoor 1 500m and 3 000m (4:10.90 and 8:54.06) and running personal bests in the 1 500m (4:08.04 - Padova, July 16), mile (4:30.24 - Falmouth, August 19), 3 000m (8:41.33 - Monaco, July 21), 5 000m (15:20.10 - Rome, June 8), 10km on the road (32:22 - Boston, June 25).
The 25-year-old is clearly in form having recently placed sixth at the 5th Avenue Street Mile in New York on September 10. Scott-Efurd clocked 4:20 which immediately had the experts in South Africa speculating on how fast she could go over 10km. The question will be answered on October 8, but Scott-Efurd is quietly optimistic she can do something special.
"I've had a really good season with the mile showing just how fit I currently am. My personal best of 32:22 in the 10km should definitely go."
In fact, a low 31 minute clocking could be on the cards.
"Based on my 5 000m and 1 500m times, I know that I can go much faster than my current personal best. I just need to get into the right race, the Durban 10K CITYSURFRUN sounds like that race. I know I can go a low 31."
That comment brought up the question about the long standing SA record of 31:13 run by Elana Meyer in 1999.
When asked about the record and informed of the R300 000 bonus, Scott-Efurd became excited.
"I know my better distances are the 5 000m, 10 000m and 10km on the road. So when I hear of such incentives, I really get excited. I want to own many more South African records and why not the 10km record? What better place to do it in, than at home at the Durban 10K CITYSURFRUN?"
Joining Dominique Scott-Efurd on the start line will be Mercyline Chelangat of Uganda.
The 19-year-old Chelangat, who finished fourth in the 5 000m at the Junior World Championships in 2016, boasts a fast 31:40.48 in the 10 000m and will be a huge threat to Scott-Efurd's ambitions of winning at home.
Chelangat's personal best came at the IAAF World Championships in London this year, showing she is fully capable of mixing it up with the senior athletes.
Chelangat races sparsely on the roads, with only two recorded times over the 10km to her name.
However, with personal bests in the 5 000m of 15:09.45 and the 31:40.48 in the 10 000m, she has run faster than Scott-Efurd in the 5 000m by 11 seconds, Chelangat may well spoil the homecoming of Scott-Efurd.
"I do not run much on the roads, but I am excited to be coming to Durban. It is always great to be able to run in international events on African soil. I know Dominique Scott-Efurd is in great shape, so I know I will need to work hard," Chelangat said from Uganda.
"I also know after running 5 000m and 10 000m personal bests this year, I should be able to run a much quicker time than my best for the 10km on the road."
Chelangat has run 33:17 on the road in Rome in December 2015.
Scott-Efurd and Chelangat are the latest in the list of top athletes that will be lining up in front of the Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban for what will arguably be the deepest field of athletes ever assembled for a 10km race in South Africa.