Champ’s absence opens Spar race

2014-06-21 00:00

IT’S Ladies’ Day in Pietermaritzburg tomorrow for the annual Spar Women’s 10 km and five kilometre races, starting and finishing at the Pietermaritzburg Cricket Oval in Alexandra Park.

More than 4 000 runners and walkers are expected to take on the routes, which are the same as last year after participants voiced their satisfaction with complimentary comments on the course and the event.

Defending champion Jenna Challenor, who left all in her wake last year, was set to return to defend her title, but the seasonal flu bug has put paid to her ambitions and she will not be on the start line at 8 am.

This has gifted an opening to a group of potential winners, including Durban’s Tanith Maxwell who will have to pull out all the stops to stay ahead of Janene Carey, Mapaseka Makhanya and Christine Kalmer. All these athletes will be using the race to tune up for the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow from July 23 to August 3.

Kalmer returns from Albany, New York, where she competed in the five-kilometre Friehofer Run for Women’s Race and finished 13th in 16:28. Sister Rene also ran and was ninth, helping to secure the prize for the first pair of sisters over the line.

While in the U.S., Kalmer also took on the Bolder Boulder 10 km in Colorado, America’s biggest 10 km event, finishing 26th overall in 37:24.

Western Province’s Nolene Conrad has also prepared well, setting her personal best 10 km time in Bloemfontein in February, clocking 33:37. This has seen her selected in the SA squad of 155 for Glasgow and she too ran the Boulder, stopping the watch at 36.41, just ahead of Kalmer in 24th position. She also joined Kalmer in Albany, finishing 15th in 16:53.

On home soil, the two athletes took on the MTN Half Marathon in Johannesburg, running the 10 km race and overcoming freezing conditions to see Conrad take silver and Kalmer the bronze.

Tomorrow’s course should ideally suit both athletes who, on current form, could fill two spots on the podium.

Maxwell, who prefers a longer distance and competed in the Brighton Marathon in April this year — “It was a cold, difficult day and hence I never ran the time I wanted” — is focusing on the shorter races now, looking at competing either in Valencia or the U.S. in November, but admits it’s no easy task.

“While I am running the shorter distances right now, it’s not my cup of tea,” she said.

“The legs are getting on a bit and I battle with the speed. I rely on endurance which makes these type of races tough, but shorter races are part and parcel of running and have to be done.

“I am hoping for a decent time and am looking forward to being on the road with a bunch of top class athletes.”

Registration for tomorrow’s race is at the Oval today, from 10 am to 4 pm. Entries will also be accepted between these times but participants are reminded that no entries will be accepted tomorrow, on race day.

Residents near Alexandra Park are made aware of road closures for the race but organisers have given their assurance that all will be re-opened by 11 am.

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.