Spar Women 10km challenge on

2018-03-22 06:00
Eyes will be on Kesa Molotsane, who dominated the series last year.PHOTO: Reg Caldecott

Eyes will be on Kesa Molotsane, who dominated the series last year.PHOTO: Reg Caldecott

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Thousands of women will take to the streets of Belville on Sunday 25 March, to kick-off the 2018 SPAR Women’s 10km Challenge series.

This will be the first of six races that make up the 2018 SPAR Grand Prix series.

After a number of years running from the Cape Town Stadium, the race has now returned home Belville Stadium.

Ian Laxton, the SPAR Grand Prix co-ordinator, said the change of venue would have an impact on the race, and on the Grand Prix series.

“The route at the Cape Town Stadium was flat and fast, whereas the route in Belville is fairly hilly. I imagine the winning time will be slower, and the top runners will not be able to get time bonus points, which can make all the difference in the battle to win the Grand Prix,” he said.

“There are lots of ups and downs, and I think it could be quite a challenging course.”

As always, the race has attracted the cream of South African roadrunners, but all eyes will be on Kesa Molotsane, who dominated the series last year. Molotsane, who was better known as a track athlete, took to the road like a duck to water and won the Grand Prix title at her first attempt.

Molotsane is only the seventh person to win the title, and the only one to do so in her debut year. She won the Cape Town, Port Elizabeth and Pietermaritzburg races, finished second in Durban and Johannesburg and third in Pretoria to finish with 156 points – 10 ahead of her nearest rival, three-times Grand Prix winner Irvette van Zyl, who won in Pretoria and Johannesburg, came second in Cape Town and Port Elizabeth and third in Pietermaritzburg.

Irvette van Zyl, who has won the Grand Prix title three times, will be competing and will be going all out to win, despite being six months pregnant with her second child. She and Glenrose Xaba have been performing well in local races in Gauteng in recent weeks.

Two former Grand Prix winners, Mapaseka Makhanya and Lebogang Phalula, will miss the race, because they are doing national duty at the world half-marathon championships in Valencia, Spain that weekend. Others who will miss the SPAR Race because of the world championships are Nolene Conrad, who was third in the Grand Prix last year, Cornelia Joubert and Jenet Dlamini.

The top runners competing in the race will all be seeking to earn Grand Prix point. The prize money for the Grand Prix has been boosted to a whopping R185 000 for the winner – R12 000 more than last year. The runner-up will receive R60 000 and the athlete finishing third in the Grand Prix will take home R35 500.

Grand Prix points are earned in the six SPAR Challenge races run in CTN, PE, Durban, Pretoria, Pietermaritzburg and Jozi.

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