Nare wins Spar race, Johannes takes second

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The lead pack at the 3km mark of the Spar Grand Prix (from left): Irvette van Zyl, Helalia Johannes (Namibia), Selam Gebre (Ethiopia) and Tadu Nare (Ethiopia). Photo: Rogan Ward
The lead pack at the 3km mark of the Spar Grand Prix (from left): Irvette van Zyl, Helalia Johannes (Namibia), Selam Gebre (Ethiopia) and Tadu Nare (Ethiopia). Photo: Rogan Ward


Local runners were again showed a clean pair of heels as Ethiopian Tadu Nare won the second instalment of the Spar Women’s Grand Prix Series 10km in a time of 31 minutes and 50 seconds in Durban on Sunday.

Namibian Helalia Johannes, who won the opening race of the six-leg series in Gqeberha last month, finished second in a time of 31:59s.

Another Ethiopian, Selam Gebre, completed the top three in 32:17s.

It is the same podium finish as the last race in Gqeberha, with Nare and Johannes swapping places and Gebre retaining her third place.

This was the same race that Johannes won in the world veteran’s record time 31:53s.

Nare, who is 21, went side by side with 41-year-old Johannes until the closing kilometers when the youngster impressively pulled away from the veteran to clock her first win of the lucrative series in which she is the defending champion.

Nare said:

Normally I sprint away from eight kilometers but they were still with me so I had to stay calm. That was my plan from the beginning.

“But on nine kilometers I knew it was a do or die moment so I had to give it a hundred percent. I know she is used to breaking out once she reaches eight kilometers. So I was willing to break out with her or tail her towards the end.

“I managed to do that. Once we reached the ninth I just had to give it every ounce of energy that I had. It worked I guess,” said Nare.

The Nedbank running club athlete swept to victory in all six races last year.

Johannes again showed why age is just a number. It is remarkable how she managed to finish second despite challenges during her trip from Namibia to South Africa.

“When I woke up today I was feeling dizzy. To be honest my body was not okay. But I just thank God for the strength.”

“It was not my day. I woke up at 4am [on Saturday] to go to the airport in Namibia and I missed the flight,” said Johannes.

“Then I had to stay at the airport for three hours. Then I came to Johannesburg and stayed at the airport for five hours and I missed another flight to Durban.

READ: Spar backs distance running shooting star

“I arrived here in Durban last night and I didn’t rest. I woke up today again at 4am and I could feel my body was very tired. I also had a terrible headache. I was not even sure that I will finish the race.”

Meanwhile, Gebre (20) said she’s just happy to sponge off experience and lessons from her seniors.

Like Johannes, Gebre said she also woke up sick.

Gebre said:

The race was fine even though I was feeling sick with a headache. I didn’t even think I was going to finish in the top three.

“But I had to give what I had and I tried my best. I’m getting used to South Africa after two races and I’m feeling at home already.”

Even though Durban was uncharacteristically cold and windy, it was still a good day for the athletes with the top 12 running sub-34 minutes.

Six South Africans made the top 10 (see the rankings below):

Top 10 finishers
  1. Tadu Nare (Nedbank) 31:50
  2. Helalia Johannes (Nedbank) 31:59
  3. Selam Gebre (Nedbank) 32:17
  4. Irvette van Zyl (Nedbank) 33:03
  5. Kesa Molotsane (Murray & Roberts) 33:16
  6. Caroline Mhandu (Maxed Elite) 33:18
  7. Cian Oldknow (Murray & Roberts) 33:20
  8. Kyla Jacobs (Murray & Roberts) 33:28
  9. Diana Lebo Phalula (Boxer) 33:28
  10. Gerda Steyn (University of Johannesburg) 33:32

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