Tearful Lebo takes the Spar

2014-08-25 00:00

A TEARFUL Lebogang Phalula collapsed to her knees as she crossed the finish line at the Spar Women’s 10km / 5km in Durban yesterday.

The Soweto-based runner was the winner of a hotly contested race that was difficult to call at the start. Last year’s runner-up, Rutendo Nyahora, claimed second and Rene Kal­mer crossed the finish line third.

The elite women runners came out all guns blazing at the start of the race with ­Irvette van Zyl, the Phalula twins and Mapaseka Ma­khanya bursting ahead of the pack in the first two kilometres.

The frenetic pace set by Van Zyl may have been her undoing as she slipped behind while the twins slowly increased their lead after the three-kilometre mark.

From there Lebogang and her sister Diana-Lebo continually built their lead ahead of Makhanya and Van Zyl up until the six-kilometre mark.

However Diana-Lebo began to have problems with her hamstring, which she had pulled the night before, and Lebogang kept looking over her shoulder to see if she would keep up.

“I wanted to run with her and I wanted to help her win this Spar ladies’ because she was leading on points. When I looked back I could she was struggling so I just told myself let me go ahead,” Lebogang told The Witness a few minutes after the race.

From there Lebogang continued to build on her lead while the top five changed dramatically. Nyahora and Kalmer crept up quietly into the top five and worked together to chip away at the twins’ lead.

“It was just important to stay with my game plan and keep on working and fighting. Rutendo and I really worked well together and caught one athlete at a time. As we caught Irvette our confidence grew, and then we went for Mapaseka and with one kilometre to go we caught Lebo so I am really happy with my third place,” said Kalmer.

However, Lebogang was just too strong and kept fighting to the finish. Emotions ran high as the runners came in and hugged each other, showing the camaraderie between the athletes.

Aside from the super-fit athletes who battled it out for points, a total of 14 256 runners took to Durban’s roads, with 6 054 running the 5km and 8 202 testing themselves in the 10km.

“We are once again pleased with this fantastic event,” said Spar KZN managing director Rob Philipson.

“The weather was perfect and the mood festive and fun. Thank you to all the women who participated and their families and friends who came out to support them for making this a memorable day.”

Top 10 results:

Lebogang Phalula - 33:06

Rutendo Nyahora - 33:41

Rene Kalmer - 33:49

Diana-Lebo Phalula - 34:02

Irvette Van Zyl - 34:29

Mapaseka Makhanya - 34:35

Jenna Challenor - 35:01

Nicole van der Merwe - 35:27

Constance Nyasango - 35:35

Thozama April - 35:56

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