Pietermaritzburg, South Africa - Kesa Molotsane (KPMG) virtually clinched the SPAR Grand Prix with a stunning win in the Pietermaritzburg SPAR Women’s 10km Challenge on Sunday.
She finished in 34.21 minutes. Rutendo Nyahora (Nedbank) was second in 34.44 and Irvette van Zyl (Nedbank) was third in 34.37.
This is the first time the Pietermaritzburg SPAR race has formed part of the Grand Prix series, so the route was unknown to many of the runners. It was a very hilly route, and the race was run on a chilly morning, with 4 500 runners taking part.
Van Zyl took the lead early on, followed closely by Lebogang Phalula, Nyahora and Molotsane. Van Zyl looked strong on the steep hills, but at about six kilometres, Molotsane made her move and caught up with her. Phalula dropped back, but the top three ran side by side. Molotsane, who is known for her amazing ‘kick’, left the other two and crossed the finish line looking as if she could run another 10 kilometres. The top three all earned bonus points for finishing inside the target time.
Phalula, who won the Pietermaritzburg race last year finished in 34.50 minutes.
“I love hills, and I really liked this route,” said Molotsane, who left almost immediately after the race to join her South African teammates at the World Student Games in Taipei, where she will compete in the 5000 metres event.
“I had to get special permission to stay behind to run this race, but it was very important to me,” she said.
Molotsane said her training for the track helped her to maintain speed on the road.
Nyahora, who ran the marathon in the World Athletics Championships in London two weeks ago, said that at four kilometres, she felt she had no strength left in her legs.
“But I just reminded myself that I wasn’t running a marathon and it was only a few kilometres to go. I tried to stay with Kesa, but she has such a strong kick. I am very happy with my race,” said Nyahora.
Van Zyl, who won the SPAR race in Pretoria two weeks ago, praised Molotsane and Nyahora.
“I tried my very best, but it wasn’t good enough today,” she said.
“Kesa was just too good. She ran an amazing race, and Rutendo was also amazing, just two weeks after running a marathon. I just didn’t have the strength in my legs to stay ahead.”
The final leg of the SPAR Challenge series takes place at Marks Park in Johannesburg on October 8.
SPAR WOMEN’S 10 KM CHALLENGE RESULTS
Results of the SPAR Women’s 10km Challenge run at the Pietermaritzburg Oval on Sunday
1. Kesa Molotsane (KPMG) 34.21; 2 Rutendo Nyahora (Nedbank) 34.34; 3. Irvette van Zyl (Nedbank0 34.37; 4 Lebogang Phalula (Boxer) 34.50; 5. Bertha Chikanga (Maxed Elite) 34.58; 6. Maria Shai (Boxer) 35.02; 7. Glenrose Xaba (Boxer) 35.05; 8.. Nolene Conrad (KPMG) 35.11; 9. Nicole Louw (KPMG) 35.23; 10 Rudo Mhonderwa (Nedbank Zimbabwe)
1. Nicole Louw (KPMG) 35.23; 2. Shanley Koekemoer (KPMG) 37.27; 3. Lyndi Roelofse (Boxer) 37.44
1. Jane Grundling (Boxer) 37.22; 2. Makhosi Mhlongo (32 Gi0 37.41; 3. Fikile Mbuthuma (Nedbank) 39.02
1. Tanith Maxwell (Boxer) 37.56; 2. Janene Carey (Boxer) 39.55; 3. Delia Jay (Dolphin Coast Striders) 44.40
1. Judy Bird (KPMG) 39.54; 2. Grace de Oliveira (Boxer) 44.10; 3. Gail Babich (Savages Athletics Club) 46.47
1. Blanche Moila (Savages Athletics Club) 49.19; 2. Sonja Laxton (RAC) 50.34; 3. Jenny Taylor (Saints Athletics Club) 51.13
1. Gill Tregenna (Westville Athletics Club) 59.22