Maxwell, Mlambo dominate 10-km event

2008-09-07 00:00

Marathoners Tanith Maxwell and Poppy Mlambo dominated the Spar Weekend Witness 10 km race ahead of over 2 000 women yesterday morning.

The two Mr Price athletes, who represented South Africa in the World Championships in Osaka, pulled ahead of the competition to go through two kilometres in seven minutes, 25 seconds.

Nomsa Ntshethe held third about 30 metres adrift with the remainder of the field being stretched by the challenging course around the Alexandra Park area.

Maxwell was driving the pace up Alexandra Road through halfway, but on the final climb up Princess Margaret Avenue it was Mlambo who had the edge through eight kilometres in 29 minutes, 10 seconds. Outside Harry Gwala Stadium, Maxwell made her move, opening over 150 metres in less than a kilometre and taking the tape and the R3 000 first prize in 36 minutes, three seconds.

The diminutive Mlambo was 36 seconds adrift with Ntshethe remaining in third for the whole race.

“It wasn’t about time (today). I have run this race a few times and wanted to compare my fitness against previous runs (on the course),” said Maxwell, who leaves for Europe next week to compete in the Flora Warsaw Marathon at the end of the month. “It was great having Poppy here; it helped to keep a good pace on the hills,” she added.

Maxwell, who missed Olympic A grade qualification by 35 seconds in the Rome marathon in March, hopes to put that goal to rest in Warsaw with a two-hour-and-35-minute marathon, which will be a new personal best. This would put her in line for selection to the 2009 World Championships in Berlin, and potentially the 2010 Commonwealth Games.

“I’m happy with my time. I’m doing the final of the Spar series in Johannesburg (October 12). I enjoy these ladies’ races,” said Mlambo. “After (Johannesburg) I want to go back to marathon and half-marathons,” added the 27-year-old, who did 35 minutes, 20 seconds for 16th position in last week’s SA 10 km championships in Stellenbosch.

Abi Adie crossed the finish line as first junior. The 18-year-old had a cut knee and blood marks down her right leg. “A runner fell at the start and I tripped over her,” said the Howick runner, “but I was able to get back up and into my rhythm.” The adrenalin rush saw the Varsity College student bolt through the two kilometres in seventh position before surrendering four places to finish 11th in 44 minutes, 31 seconds.

Boxer’s Maria Mthembu held a consistent pace throughout the course to finish eighth and first in the 35-to-39 category, but was disappointed to find that this category was omitted from the prize awards.

Around 1 300 runners and walkers completed the 10 km, while over 700 opted for the shorter 5,4 km fun run.

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