Van Zyl takes second in Grand Prix League

2012-10-17 00:00

OLYMPIAN Irvette van Zyl led from start to finish on Sunday in the Johannesburg Spar Women’s 10 km Challenge to take honours in 34 minutes, 34 seconds, which elevated her from fourth to second behind Rene Kalmer in the five-event Grand Prix league.

Van Zyl, who had struggled with an Achille’s tendon injury since swopping shoes prior to the Olympics and had her first pain-free race, was delighted.

“I was surprised when I went into the lead so early. I had planned to see where I was at the five-kilometre mark, and then try to win it from there. But as it turned out, I was able just to keep running at my own pace and win.”

“I’m getting bored with second place,” said Zimbabwean Rutendo Nyahora, who has now finished second in Port Elizabeth, Durban, Pretoria and Johannesburg, this time taking 35:34 to complete the course.

Diana-Lebo Phalula, who is expected to focus on the 3 000-metres steeplechase in the 2013 track season, completed the podium with a 35:43 second performance. Rene Kalmer, who had secured the Grand Prix title with last month’s victory in Pretoria, withdrew prior to the race with an Achille’s injury.

Durban-based Janene Carey showed scant regard for the altitude, winning the 40 to 49 age group in 39:28, while Sonja Laxton in the 60-plus category left many youngsters in her wake, taking the honours in 46:23, a time that would have placed her second in the 50 to 59 age group behind Sandra Steenkamp.

Grace de Oliveira joined Carey as an age-group winner in the Grand Prix standings, taking the 50 to 59 age group category ahead of Olga Howard from Western Province.

Siyabonga Nkonde won the Jeremiah Ngwenya Tribute 10 km around Edgewood in 30:40 ahead of Amos Rotich who lagged by over 150 metres at the finish line, with Prodigal Khumalo filling the final podium step in 31:24.

Cary Ann Smith opened 120 metres on Savages’ Puseletso Dladla in the women’s race, taking the tape in 38:20 with Danelle Adlam just edging in under the 40-minute barrier to take third spot.

Klip River Striders were to the fore in Saturday’s Ladysmith night 21 km race where Siphamandla Nyembe took the honours in 70:41 with Bonginkhosi Zwane in pursuit and Bongani Msinmango of Phuma club closing the podium in 73:29.

Not only did Lungisani Ximba and Magic Hlatshwayo add the junior and 50 to 59 age group categories to the Klip River awards, but also the club won both the men’s and women’s team prizes.

In the women’s race, it was the combination of Mpumelelo Mnyandu and junior athlete Nompumelelo Mbatha who laid the foundation for the team by securing first and second in 1:31,18 and 1:39,48, respectively

The Swift half-marathon is the main local race this weekend commencing from the Hulamin grounds at 6 am and taking a route in and around Edendale. This is by no means the fastest course, but it attracts great community support. Alex Anthony has more details at 072 209 0092. There is an associated 10 km open to runners and walkers.

Up the North Coast, the Nashua Richards Bay club host the BHP 15 km and 10 km run on Saturday (3 pm). Colin Geel is the man to contact for more details at 074 126 6891.

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