Cape Town - With
three races to go, the Spar Women's 10km Challenge is still wide open heading into Durban this weekend.
two races, Mapaseka Makhanya of Nedbank is in the lead, with a
total of 43 points. The 2013 Grand Prix winner won the Cape Town race in
record time, earning 30 points, and then she took 13 points from the Port
Elizabeth race, where she finished in eighth place.
nearest rival is Lebogang Phalula, who came third in Cape Town and second in
Port Elizabeth, for a total of 37 points. Lebogang’s twin sister, Diana-Lebo,
who was last year’s Grand Prix winner, is in third position, with 20
points. Diana-Lebo missed the first race because she was representing
South Africa at the world cross-country championships in China.
Durban race is the flagship Challenge race. The first Spar Challenge was
run in Durban, and it has always been one of the most popular. The
previous five races had four different winners, with Irvette van Blerk winning
back-to-back races in 2010 and 2011. Since then it has been won by Rene
Kalmer (2012), Mapaseka Makhanya (2013) and Lebogang Phalula (2014)
top Grand Prix contenders will be at the start at Kingsmead Cricket Stadium on
Sunday. The Phalula twins are definite contenders for top honours, as is
Makhanya. Rene Kalmer and her sister Christine are also expected to do
well, and other top runners include Nolene Conrad, Tannith Maxwell and Jenna
Challenor. Irvette van Zyl is expected to run, but she is several months
pregnant, and although she had a top ten finish in Port Elizabeth, she is
unlikely to trouble the top runners on Sunday.
of the top runners have been in Durban for some time, supporting runners who
competed in the Comrades Marathon last Sunday, and they will have used their
time to get used to the route and the conditions.