CLASSY RUN FOR KESA MOLOTSANE AT MARITZBURG SPAR WOMEN’S 10 KM CHALLENGE
Kesa Molotsane (KPMG) had a classy run in the inaugural Grand Prix series of the Maritzburg SPAR Women’s 10km Challenge on Sunday, August 20 winning in a convincing time of 34.21, followed by Rutendo Nyahora (Nedbank) in 34.34 and Irvette van Zyl (Nedbank) in 34.37.
In the penultimate race on the SPAR Grand Prix, the leading lady extended her domination over the log. Out of the starting blocks, Irvette van Zyl (Nedbank) edged to the front of the pack, leading marginally for majority of the race, with Lebogang Phalula (Boxer) and Rutendo Nyahora (Nedbank) tailing her closely on her shoulder.
Out of nowhere, the star runner started her assault to the front with about 4km remaining. Looking strong, she charged her way through the runners, joining the top three, matching their pace for the last few kilometres of the run. Striding away from van Zyl as they wound their way to the stadium, she secured her position on the top step of the podium, cementing her first spot on the log. Having started the 2017 series with a first in Cape Town, a first in Port Elizabeth, a second in Durban and third in Pretoria, she went into the Pietermaritzburg race with a decent 19 point lead ahead of van Zyl.
“I really enjoyed the run today, it was a really nice route. I love the hills, I grew up in a hilly area, so they don’t bother me. It was cold, and I took a while to warm up but I am really glad that I ran. It was a good test before I take on the 5,000m in World Student Games in Taipei this week. I am the only South African running the 5,000m and I want to do my country proud, so today has motivated me and given me the opportunity to challenge myself.”
Molotsane departed directly after the race, heading straight to the airport to go compete in Taiwan with her first 5,000m heat taking place on 25th August and the finals on 27th August. “I needed special permission to run in Pietermaritzburg from the Federation, but I think it was good for me ahead of running against the top international athletes. I wanted to retain my position in the Grand Prix to stay on top of the leaderboard, so needed to compete today.”
The class act said she didn’t have issues changing from track to road, or vice versa. “A lot of people find it challenging and demanding to handle both track and road, but it is easier for me, it isn’t so much of a shock. I think it is because I concentrate on the longer distances.”
Second on the leaderboard, van Zyl said, “I gave it my best but my best wasn’t good enough. I needed to push it as I find myself in a difficult situation with points on the Grand Prix log, I needed to win and get bonus points to stay in the game.”
“I am an impatient runner, so I tend to break early and take up the pace. It usually works for me but I just couldn’t hang in there. Kesa ran really well. I have had a tough year, with the injury that forced me out of the Durban race, I have been working hard to have a fighting chance. But I am glad it was a pain free run. I also like hilly courses, so enjoyed the my first time on the Maritzburg course.”
Second on the day, the petite Zimbabwean, Rutendo Nyahora overtook van Zyl, leaving her behind on the final stretch of road leading into the stadium. “I am feeling fine on the back of running a marathon. My running was down, so I had to kick hard and my plan worked.”
Molotsane shaved off 20seconds from the previous winning time of 34.41 that Lebogang Phalula clocked in 2016.
A total of 4,500 took to the two distances in a chilly 3 degrees. Peter Deeb, Marketing Director of SPAR KZN said, “Having the Maritzburg race being included in the Grand Prix has certainly raised the profile of the race. Everyone had a fantastic time, and we were full to capacity. It was a chilly morning to start off with, and the course had a lot of hills. We are very pleased with the numbers, and it is always wonderful to give back to our community as road running has a huge following here in Pietermaritzburg.”
1 Kesa Molotsane (KPMG) 34.21, 2 Rutendo Nyahora (Nedbank) 34.34, 3 Irvette van Zyl (Nedbank) 34.37, 4 Lebogang Phalula (Boxer) 34.50, 5 Betha Chikanga 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) 35.32
1 Janie Grundling (Boxer) 37.22, 2 Makhosi Mhlongo (32Gi) 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) 46.47
1 Blanche Moila (Savages) 49.19, 2 Sonja Laxton (RAC) 50.34, 3 Jenny Taylor (Saints Athletics) 51.13
1 Gill Tregenna (Westville) 59.22
1 Nicole Louw (KPMG) 35.23, 2 Shanley Koekemoer (KPMG) 37.27, 3 Cherry Lee Schoeman (Boxer) 39.53