Ethiopian runner Tadu Nare won her fourth consecutive race in the Spar Women’s Challenge, but the Champagne remains on ice in her campaign to become the overall champion.
Nare has dominated this year’s grand prix, winning all the races so far. The pocket-sized athlete won the Tshwane leg of the series in Irene, Centurion, on Friday with a time of 32 minutes and 56 seconds.
South African champion Glenrose Xaba finished second with a time of 33:42, while Gerda Steyn came third with a time of 34:17.
Nare has won R25 000 per race, bagging R100 000 thus far. However, the aspiring farmer, who wears Nedbank Running Club colours, is still a long way away from clinching the series.
The 20-year-old said her aim was to win the remaining races to secure both the title and the R190 000 that comes with it.
“My plan is to continue running hard. It’s still early and I’m not yet the champion. I still have to run well in the two remaining races,” she said via a translator.
“The race was very good, even though it had some hills, which made it a bit challenging.”
Nare is currently in the lead, with 100 points (25 from each race).
However, the chasing athletes are not far behind, as the second-place finisher gets 24 points and third place gets 23 points.
The leader board will be updated on Tuesday.
After the Durban leg, Nare had 75 points, Fortunate Chidzivo was second with 64 points and Kesa Molotsane had 62.
This means the Ethiopian could be caught out if she misses a race.
She still needs to run the remaining legs in Johannesburg and Gqeberha to ensure that she is the overall champion.
Having won in Pietermaritzburg, Cape Town, Durban and Tshwane, Nare said the race she had enjoyed most was in the Mother City.
“That was my favourite race so far. I had a good start and the weather conditions were favourable,” she said of the race she won in a career best 10km time of 31:28.
Xaba said she had come up with a new strategy for the race, after finishing second to Nare in two previous legs.
“It was my plan to stick close to Tadu so that I could challenge her in this race. My start was very quick because I wanted to keep up with her throughout.
“She’s very strong and is able to run the entire race without dropping her pace,” said Xaba, who is coached by Olympic champion Caster Semenya.
Steyn praised Nare for giving the South African runners both inspiration and good competition.
“It’s important for us to be able to test ourselves against runners like Tadu,” said the reigning Comrades Marathon champion.