Ethiopian runner Tadu Nare has attributed training at high altitude in east Africa and a diet including free-range chicken as key ingredients behind her early domination in the Spar Women’s Challenge 10km race in Cape Town.
The 20-year-old, who runs for the Nedbank Running Club, came in with a time of 31 minutes and 28 seconds.
Her time was about three minutes ahead of local hopefuls Kesa Molotsane and Cian Oldknow of the Murray & Roberts Running Club, who took second and third spots in 34:10 and 34:16, respectively.
Like most accomplished long-distance runners from east Africa, Nare said she preferred to do preparations in her home surroundings.
“It’s much better to train in Ethiopia because of the high altitude. Cape Town was easy because it’s at sea level, with much oxygen [which helps enhance performance],” said Nare through a translator.
Nare said she was using the Spar races to prepare for the Barcelona Marathon in Spain in November.
She registered her first win of the six-race grand prix with a 23:22 run in Pietermaritzburg a fortnight ago, while Molotsane finished sixth at the event.
In line with Covid-19 protocols, spectators were barred from attending yesterday’s race, where a field of about 120 runners turned up.
Despite rain in Cape Town during the build-up to the event, the overcast and cool conditions made for an ideal race day.
The event in the Mother City was also bound to produce one of the fastest local times over 10km, because of its flat course.
It was staged on a looped course of two laps measuring 5km each around the Green Point and Cape Town Stadium precinct.
“I am not a fan of a looped course because it works on my psyche when running around the same place over and again.
Molotsane, who claimed the grand prix in 2017, said:
On racing without audiences, she and Oldknow said doing long training runs alone had prepared them for the no-spectator set-up.
The organisers are expecting a fierce contest in the third leg in Durban next Saturday. This is because the race will mark the return of the top guns who missed the event in Cape Town yesterday. Among notable absentees were former grand prix champion Glenrose Xaba, who finished second two weeks ago.
Team SA’s Tokyo Olympic marathon team members Gerda Steyn and Irvette van Zyl, as well as Namibian star Helalia Johannes, missed out on the two legs as they were still recovering from their participation at the Tokyo Games.
The grand prix series has been on hold since the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic a year ago, and the return of the popular women’s competition presents athletes with a chance to earn some money.
The winner of each race accumulates points, which are awarded to the first 25 finishers in the open category.
At stake is R190 000 for the athlete who finishes at the top of the overall leader board.