South African Athletics

Phalula wins Joburg race

2014-10-12 13:06
Lebogang Phalula (File)
Johannesburg - Lebogang Phalula has cruised to victory in the fifth and final leg of the Spar Women's 10km Challenge series at the Wanderers in Johannesburg on Sunday.

Phalula crossed the line in thirty four minutes, thirty four seconds (34:34) to win the race ahead of Zimbabwean Rutendo Nyahora and eight-time Soweto marathon champion, Mamorallo Tjoka who finished third to take the last podium spot.

The race started in cool weather conditions with the country's top long-distance runners among the front pack.

A group of eight runners set the pace upfront in the first kilometer. The lead pack whittled down to four runners as the Phalula sisters, together with Tjoka and Nyahora, pulled a few seconds clear.

Lebogang then pushed the pace and launched an attack towards the three kilometre mark, where she took the race lead. She maintained her advantage throughout the race to win comfortably, leaving just over 12 thousand runners behind.

"Today I just ran a clever race because, I knew that towards the last 'kays in Pretoria, Rutendo and Irvette van Zyl caught up to me and I didn't want that to happen again," Lebogang said after the race.

"I told myself that I was going to go flat out from the first kilometres and make sure they didn't catch up with me, not this time.

"Fortunately I did what I had planned and I'm very happy with myself." Diana-Lebo said she particularly enjoyed the race course as well as the cool weather.

"The course was very nice and I really enjoyed it. It was flat and didn't have a lot of hills.

"The weather was also great because I don't like running when it's hot because I struggle a lot, so I was happy when I woke up."

After five races in the Grand Prix series, Diana-Lebo -- who finished fifth on Sunday -- topped the overall log standings and was confirmed the 2014 series champion.

"I'm very happy with my performance today. I was aiming for top five and it did happen," Diana-Lebo said after the race.

"After my injury I was not in good shape, but I put that out of my mind and told myself I would just do my best.

"I'm happy to win the Grand Prix this year and can't wait to get the car."

Rene Kalmer finished the series second on the table, while 2013 champion Mapaseka Makhanya placed third.


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