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Elana Meyer ends outstanding career

South African runner made history in 1992 Olympics and broke five world records

2005-05-04

Elana Meyer has announced the end of her outstanding career. The South African has been one of the most prolific long distance track and road runners in the world for more than a decade. Elana Meyer has run five world records in road races in the 90ies.

For a longer period she has struggled finding her form. That was the reason for the 38 year-old to retire. Despite ending her career as an elite runner Elana Meyer intends to at least partially work for the sport in future. Being a member of the KIMbia Athletics team she will be working closely with KIMbia on the charity projects and perhaps in other areas as well. Elana Meyer also plans to do clinics to motivate people and help them finding their abalance in life.

Elana Meyer became a national hero in 1992, when she wrote sports history at the Barcelona Olympic Games. South Africa had been banned for three decades from international sport due to its Apartheid policy. Barcelona were the first Olympics where the South Africans were allowed to compete again. In a thrilling 10,000 m race Elana Meyer won the silver medal behind Derartu Tulu (Ethiopia). It was the first Olympic medal for South Africa since 1960. The way Elana Meyer celebrated despite having lost the race for gold was fantastic and sympathetically. She had done a great job for South African sport and became a symbol not only in her home country.

Already a year earlier she had set two world records, which were then not officially acknowledged due to the ban in international sport. Elana Meyer had run the half marathon in 67:59 minutes and had clocked 46:57 for 15 k. The latter mark became official later and still stands as a world record today. In the half marathon, which became Elana Meyer’s most successful event, she set three more world records. In 1997, when she had transformed into a road runner, she won the Kyoto Half Marathon in Japan in 67:36 minutes. A year later she bettered that time in Kyoto, clocking 67:29. And in 1999 Elana Meyer, who had been World Champion in the half marathon in 1994, won the Tokyo Half Marathon in 66:44. That time still stands as a world record today as well.

Among many more great performances were the Commonwealth Games in 1994, at which she won the silver medal in the 10,000 m, and the Olympic Games in 2000 in Atlanta, where she was 8th in the 10,000 m final. Back in 1992 and 1993 she had won the 1,500 m finals at the African Championships. In 1993 she had been sixth at the World Cross Country Championships (long distance), two years later she placed fifth in the World Championships at 10,000 m and in 1998 she was second in the World Half Marathon Championships.

Elana Meyer, who studied at Stellenbosch University in South Africa and is married to former 1,500 m runner Michael Meyer (PB: 3:47,47), ran a great marathon debut in 1994. She finished third in the BAA Boston Marathon, clocking 2:25:15 which was then the fastest marathon debut of all times. This time remained her personal best until today. But there were a couple of more great results in major marathons. Elana Meyer was second in Boston in 1995 and 1997. And she placed third in Chicago in 1998 and fifth in London in 1999.


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