Road runners prepare for another gruelling series

Kesa Molotsane (Gallo Images)
Kesa Molotsane (Gallo Images)

Johannesburg - The Spar Women’s Race is back. It was won last year by Kesa Molotsane, who took top spot in three of the six races.

This year, it will be another tough 10km Grand Prix Series challenge, which will be held in six big cities, starting in Bellville near Cape Town next Sunday.

Molotsane won the Cape Town, Pietermaritzburg and Port Elizabeth races in last year’s series.

She showed grit, racking up 156 points across the six races - 10 points ahead of seasoned Nedbank runner Irvette van Zyl, who got 116 points to secure second position in the overall standings.

Third place went to Cape Town-based Nolene Conrad, who secured 105 points.

Series coordinator Ian Laxton this week said that top athletes Molotsane and Van Zyl were unlikely to compete in all races this year, which would leave the Grand Prix Series wide open for new challengers.

“I don’t think Kesa will compete in all races, but, if she does, she will be a clear favourite,” the veteran commentater said.

“If Molotsane doesn’t compete, the race will be wide open as Van Zyl may also not participate in all the races.

“You should remember that these athletes also compete in other events, such as the SA Championships and the Commonwealth Games.”

But Laxton assured fans that, even though Molotsane and Van Zyl might not take part in all the races, the series would still be a spectacular race event.

Van Zyl, who won two races last year, confirmed she would compete next week despite her pregnancy.

“I will compete next week and hopefully in August again because my baby is due in June,” she said.

She previously won the Women’s Race in 2015 - and she was pregnant then, too.

“A week before I gave birth, I won the race. So it’s nothing new,” Van Zyl said.

Molotsane said she would confirm tomorrow whether she would participate in the race in Cape Town.

She was due to compete at the fifth Africa Cross-Country Championships in Algeria.

The prize money has been increased and the winner of the Grand Prix will pocket R185 000. The runner-up will get R60 000 and the third-placed athlete will take home R35 500.

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