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Another best for Van Blerk

Defending champion Irvette van Blerk successfully defended her Totalsports women’s 10-kilometre road race title in Johannesburg on Monday.

But at the corresponding event in Stellenbosch, Mia Pienaar had to relinquish her title to Transkei’s Lusanda Bomvana.

Almost 8┬á000 runners and walkers gathered in Johannesburg and Stellenbosch on Monday to be part of the celebration on national Women’s Day.

Van Blerk, who a few weeks back won the national half-marathon championships in Port Elizabeth in a personal best time, crossed the finish line at Roosevelt High School, Emmarentia, in an excellent time of 35 minutes 31 seconds, setting another new personal best on the course at this much-loved Women’s Day event.

She said the toughness of the route was enhanced by howling winds on the day.┬á ÔÇ£What makes the Totalsports race in Johannesburg so difficult is that the route features quite a few hills.┬áAnd today’s race was even tougher as we ran against the wind for most of the route.┬á I went out really hard, trying my best to keep the pace as I thought a female runner was breathing down my neck.┬áI only realised later that it was a male runner dressed in drag,ÔÇØ laughed Van Blerk.

Nolene Conrad came in second (37:40), while Christine Kalmer finished third in 37:42..

In Stellenbosch Mia Pienaar was forced to relinquish her title to Bomvana who crossed the finish line at Coetzenburg Stadium in an impressive time of 37min 20sec.┬áBomvana said she really enjoyed the race.┬á ÔÇ£This is my second Totalsports race.┬á I competed for the first time in 2009.┬á I felt great on route and didn’t find it to be difficult at all.┬á I had a good race and hope to return next year,ÔÇØ says Bomvana. Pienaar came in second, 30sec back, while Anneline Roffey finished third in 39:02.

Proceeds raised at the Johannesburg race went towards the Fadimehang Mental Care Centre, while Stellenbosch’s charity of choice was the JAG Foundation.