Bloemfontein’s long-distance female runner Kesa Molotsane has won this year’s 10 km women’s race of the Free State O.R. Tambo Marathon. The Kovsie runner clinched the category on Sunday (15/10) in Bloemfontein. Molotsane’s win comes hardly a week after being crowned this year’s Spar Women’s Grand Prix 10 km series winner following a superb showing in Johannesburg. She won three of the races, in Cape Town, Port Elizabeth and Pietermaritzburg. Molotsane’s marvellous performance in the O.R. Tambo Marathon fuels her continued rapid rise to stardom. For her stunning performance she went home with a whopping R15 000, plus a bonus of R5 000. The bonus prize is an extra incentive offered by the Free State Department of Sport, Arts, Culture and Recreation, encouraging provincial athletes to improve their performance. The first Free State athletes to cross the finish line qualified for the prize. Molotsane rose to the challenge that had been set by the department, unleashing her best performance and beating 241 contestants to scoop the 10 km women’s O.R. Tambo Marathon title. This category attracted 242 female athletes and 282 male athletes. Molotsane’s win also came at the height of the recognition afforded her, most recently with the accolade of this year’s KovsieSport Senior Sportswoman of the Year Award. Molotsane is the first female in five years who is not a netball player to scoop this prestigious accolade. She attributed her rapid rise to stardom and success to hard work.“It took me long enough to get here and it needed a lot of work from my side over many years. I have been with Kovsies for seven years and I am only getting this after so long,” said Molotsane after receiving the award. Free State athlete, Paralympian and world-record holder in the 5 000 m for blind athletes, Louzanne Coetzee, and her guide, Khothatso Mokone, ran the 21,1 km half-marathon and managed to improve last year’s record.