The race is on for this weekend’s SPAR Women’s main event that takes place around Alexandra Park on Sunday morning.
Back to defend her title is Gauteng’s Lebogang Phalula. Having completed the race last year in a dazzling time of 34.41, the second fastest time clocked in recent times, Phalula is hoping to improve on her Grand Prix standing where she is sitting in fourth place currently.
Sporting the number 1 this weekend is Irvette van Zyl running in the colours of Nedbank. Van Zyl has had mixed fortunes on the road this year, with two second places, and a first in the last SPAR Grand Prix event held in Pretoria. The three time Grand Prix winner had one glitch when she was forced to retire in Durban due to her niggling back injury. She is currently second on the GP log.
Leading the pack is the hard-working KPMG athlete, Kesa Molotsane. Molotsane has accumulated 107 points in the four races held prior to the Pietermaritzburg 10km. In all of her races, she has an impressive presence on the podium with two firsts kicking off her GP year, followed by a second in the Durban race and a third in the Pretoria race. She is 19 points clear of Olympic runner, van Zyl.
Waving the KZN flag, Jenna Challenor will be back. Having had a quiet year plagued with injuries, it will be interesting seeing the one-time winner flying around the familiar route, but this time with many more elite athletes in the front pack. Back from training in Scotland, Durban athlete Tanith Maxwell, also a one-time winner and a regular feature in the Pietermaritzburg race, has turned her focus on the gruelling longer distances, will be stretching her legs around the picturesque setting.
Pietermaritzburg running fans will also be pleased to know that the Comrades darling, Caroline Wostmann is pencilled down as an entry running for KPMG.
The running club, KPMG is creaming the points with all of their representative athletes performing well. The club has 441 points in total, with the ever-present impressive team of Nedbank sitting on 350 points currently.
A maximum capacity field of 4,500 runners is expected to be taking to the tarmac around Alexandra Park in the two race distances, with the route being described as an out and back. Both fields having an all-in start at 8am. The predicted weather looks to be a chilly 9 degrees with clear, sunny skies at the start time, and warming up to 21 degrees during the course of the day.
Entries are still available at Race Registration at The Oval Cricket Stadium, Alexandra Park on Friday 18 August (10am to 5pm) and Saturday 19 August (10am to 3pm) or until the maximum 4500 are reached.
Entries are open to all from ages of 14 years and up in the 10km event and 9 years in the 5km races. Entry fees are R100 for the 10km licensed athletes and for the 5km runners. R110 is the entry fee for the non-licensed athletes; the extra R10 includes a temporary licence for the day.
Kesa Molotsane will be taking to the roads this weekend in Pietermaritzburg for the upcoming SPAR Women’s Challenge on Sunday.
2016: Lebogang Phalula (Boxer) 34.41
2015: Tebogo Masehla (Boxer) 36.10
2014: Rene Kalmer (Modern Athlete) 34.13