A dancing Mapaseka Makhanya celebrated victory in Sunday’s SPAR Women’s 10 km Challenge road race Green Point, Cape Town.
Her time of 32min 54sec saw her beating Nedbank teammate Rutendo Nyahora by nine seconds while Transnet’s Lebogang Phalula was third in 33.20. The first two athletes both broke the previous course record of 33.06.
Kalmer sisters, Olympian Rene and Christine, were fourth and fifth respectively.
It was a fast, competitive race from the start as Nyahora took the early lead, with Phalula, Makhanya and Rene Kalmer running in a bunch close behind her.
The lead changed hands several times, as the elite runners surged and then fell back. ‘Rutendo started in the front, and I decided to run with her,’ said Makhanya, pictured above as she crossed the finish line.
‘I knew it was going to be a hard race, but it was a good, flat course. I didn’t consciously decide to go for it, it just happened. I’m very happy to have won again – it has been too long since I won a Challenge race.’ Nyahora said she had decided to go hard from the start. ’However, I lost focus at four kilometres and fell back a bit, but then at six kilometres I decided I had to go hard again.’
Phalula said she found it difficult to run without her twin sister Diana-Lebo, who was doing national duty at the world cross-country championships in China. ‘We usually run together and encourage each other. It was strange without her. But well done to the other girls – I’ll see you in Port Elizabeth.’
Makhanya said the run had been good preparation for the Two Oceans half-marathon on Saturday. ‘And after that I will be running my first international marathon, in Hannover, Germany. I was thinking about that marathon before the race, but Rutendo told me to put it out of my mind and concentrate on the 10km today. So I did that, and it’s thanks to her that I won.’
She said it always felt special to win a women’s race. ‘When you cross the finish line, you’re the first, and you’re not surrounded by men. It is a great feeling to be running against the other elite athletes and knowing you’re running against the best in the country.’
Rene Kalmer, who has won more Challenge races than any other runner and has also won the Grand Prix three times, said she was happy with her run and her time. ‘I’m running the Vienna Marathon in Austria in two weeks time, and this was excellent preparation for that.’ Irvette van Zyl, who has two Grand Prix titles to her credit, finished out of the top 10, but she was full of smiles. ‘I was out of the top 10, but I won the Plus One category,’ she laughed. That’s because her and fellow Olympian husband LJ, are expecting a baby in September.
She said she intended to run as long as possible. More than 23,000 runners took part in the race, which kicked off the Spar Challenge series. The next race is in Port Elizabeth on 9 May.
Seniors: 1 Mapaseka Makhanya 32.54; 2 Rutendo Nyahora 33.03; 3 Lebogang Phalula 33.20; 4 Rene Kalmer 33.26; 5 Christine Kalmer 33.58; 6 Zintle Xiniwe 34.11; 7 Cornelia Joubert 34.12; 8 Jenna Challenor 34.13; 9 Lena Lotter 34.30; 10 Thembi Baloyi 35.08
Juniors (14-19): 1 Pamela Moyikwa 37.40; 2 Ashleigh Simons 37.53; 3 544 Sharon Chanola 46.27; 4 20247 Wilmi Agenbag 47.02; 5 3008 Rezaan Kamaldien 47.18
Veterans (40-49 Age group): 1 Janene Carey 38.14; 2 Obstrina Kanyongo 39.44; 3 Julie Huckus 40.55
Masters (50-59 Age Group): 1 Elmarie Coetzee 40.10; 2 Essie Strauss 41.05; 3 Charmaine Cupido 42.28
Grandmasters (60-69 Age Group): 1 Nancy Will 46.15; 2 Sonia Laxston 49.01; 3 Helen Du Plessis 50.27
Grandmasters + (70+ Age Group): 1 Marlene James 57.54; 2 Annatjie Berntzen 70.07
Picture courtesy of Reg Caldecott