Cape Town - Zimbabwean Rutendo Nyahora stormed to victory in the Spar Women's Challenge 10km road race in Cape Town on Sunday.
Nyahora crossed the line in 33 minutes, 10 seconds (33:10) to finish 12 seconds clear of former middle-distance specialist Mapaseka Makhanya, who continued her successful transition to the road with a second-place finish.
Zintle Xiniwe took third place a further 18 seconds back.
"This is one of my best wins," said Nyahora, who bagged her first victory in the annual series of 10km races.
"It's a great start to the year, and I think this is going to be my year."
Nyahora, who finished second in Cape Town last year, said she had felt comfortable throughout the race.
"I thought it was going to be harder than it was," she said.
"Normally, I look around and see where people like Rene (Kalmer) and Irvette (Van Zyl) are, but this time I decided to run my own race and not to worry about them. I told myself to just go, and I had a strong mind today.
"Mapaseka (Makhanya) was my target - she beat me about two weeks ago, and I was worried about her - so I just went ahead and didn't look back."
Training partners Kalmer and Van Blerk, two of the pre-race favourites, finished fourth and fifth respectively.
Makhanya, who was running the Cape Town leg of the series for the first time, said she had not known what to expect, but she had found the route rather comfortable.
"I ran with Irvette for the first five kilometres, but then she fell back and I just went ahead. I liked the route - I didn't even feel the hills," she said.
Makhanya is scheduled to run in the World Cross Country championships in Poland on March 24.
Kalmer, running her first competitive race after a five-month lay-off because of an Achilles tendon injury, was pleased with her effort.
"I'm not disappointed. I'm very satisfied with my performance today," Kalmer said.
"I had a good run and it was great to be back on the road competing again.
"Rutendo and the others must watch out - I'll be back at my best in the next challenge race in Port Elizabeth in May."
More than 21 000 runners took part in the 10km race and the 5km fun run.
Results of the Spar Women's Challenge 10km road race in Cape Town on Sunday:
Open: 1 Rutendo Nyahora 33:10, 2 Mapaseka Makhanya 33:22, 3 Zintle Xiniwe 33:40, 4 Rene Kalmer 33:50, 5 Irvette van Zyl 33:59, 6 Nolene Conrad 34:03; 7 Christine Kalmer 34:35, 8 Khana Mateyisi 35:48, 9 Myrette Filmater 35:48, 10 Poppy Mlambo 36:11
Juniors: 1 Annie Bothma 37:17, Ileana Dreyer 40:11, 3 Amy Abrahams 41:26
Veterans: 1 Janene Carey 37:59, 2 Linley Holmes 38:38, 3 Sheryl de Lange 40:07
Masters: 1 Mariette Esterhuyse 41:36, 2 Annatjie Botes 41:43, 3 Grace de Oliveira 41:47
Grandmasters: 1 Sonja Laxton 44:57, 2 Helen du Plessis 48:47, 3 Marietha Herbert 50.06