Irvette van Zyl (Nedbank) led from start to finish to win the Joburg Spar Women’s 10km Challenge at Marks Park in Emmarentia on Sunday.
She finished in 35min 08min, beating Kesa Moletsane (KPMG) by 19 seconds while Nolene Conrad (KPMG) was third in 36:39.
There was a sizeable gap between them and the rest of the field, on a new route which followed a twisting and sometimes difficult course.
Molotsane’s second place was good enough to secure her victory in the 2017 Spar Grand Prix. Defending champion, Van Zyl, was second and Conrad third.
‘I had a good race. My legs weren’t too tired after the Cape Town marathon, and I was determined to win,’ said Van Zyl.
‘I was a bit worried about Kesa, who always hangs back a bit. I had a bit of a dip between six and eight kilometres, and just tried to put enough space between us. When I was still in the lead with a kilometre to go, I really pushed it, because I didn’t want to lose in a sprint.
‘I always like a hilly route, although this one was quite tough,’ she said.
‘It was a very good competition, and Kesa has done brilliantly to win the Grand Prix in her first year of road running,’ said Van Zyl. ‘I lost my chance of winning the Grand Prix when I dropped out of the Durban race with an injury, but I am very happy with my performance.’
Moletsane said she had not done much training and just wanted to earn enough points to make sure of winning the Grand Prix.
‘I felt I was in control, but when I got to eight kilometres, my kick just wasn’t there. But I’m very happy with my run and I feel very humbled by winning the Grand Prix title. ‘It’s a fantastic series and I will definitely be back next year,’ said Moletsane.
Conrad said she found the first half of the route quite easy, but the second half was tough. ‘I felt the altitude a bit,’ she said. ‘I didn’t come in with fresh legs, because I’m seven weeks into training for a marathon in November.
‘Luckily, the others were quite far behind us so I was able to keep my third place,’ she said. ‘I’m very proud to have finished third in the Grand Prix. It isn’t easy to stay on top in a six-race series.’
Eighty-six-year-old Deirdre Larkin, who only started running in her late 70s, won the Great Grandmaster title in 64:30.
More than 13,000 entered the Spar race, which was run on a cool and overcast morning.
Senior: 1 Irvette van Zyl 35.08; 2 Kesa Molotsane 35.27; 3 Nolene Conrad 36.39; 4 Rutando Nyahora 37.00; 5 Rudo Monderwa 37.30; 6 Lebogang Phalula 37.36; 7 Glenrose Xaba 37.48; 8 Patience Murowe 38.28; 9 Nicole Louw 38.56; 10 Shanley Koekemoer 38.58
Under 20: 1 Nicole Louw 38.56; 2 Shanley Koekemoer 38.58; 3 Thobile Vilakazi 39.55
40-49: 1 Maria Vilakazi 42.14; 2 Leigh Privett 44.19; 3 Nomasonta Skhosana 45.43
50-59: 1 Judy Bird 41.52; 2 Grace de Oliviera 46.06; 3 Judy Pace 50.50
60-69: 1 Margie Saunders 46.57; 2 Francis van Blerk 50.24; 3 Sonja Laxton 52.19
70+: 1 Deirdre Larkin 1.04.30; 2 Debbie van Heerden 1.07.35; 3 Oran Bessit 1.14.20
Picture of Conrad, Van Zyl and Moletsane courtesy of Reg Caldecott