Defending champion Diana-Lebo Phalula made sure of victory in the Port Elizabeth leg of the SPAR Women’s 10km Challenge at Pollok Beach on Saturday, winning the race in emphatic style in 32min 57min.
Her twin sister, Lebogang, was second in 33:26, with Rutendo Nyahora third in 33:43. Mapaseka Makhanya, who won the opening leg in Cape Town in March, was in eighth position.
Makhanya recently finished third in the Hanover Marathon in Germany and was still feeling the effects of the marathon. Nyahora took the early lead, but Diana-Lebo Phalula, running barefoot, surged to the front after the first kilometre mark, and stayed there for the rest of the race.
‘My body was feeling good, and so I decided to go for it. I wanted to help my sister, but she couldn’t keep up with me,’ said Phalula.
‘I’m a bit disappointed in my time, because I wanted to break the record again, but I knew I had to defend my title. The Port Elizabeth race is always one of my favourites.’
Lebogang Phalula, who ran with Nyahora for much of the way, said she had enjoyed the race, although there had been quite a g wind. ‘But I’ve been doing weight training, so I told the wind I’m not going to let you blow me over – I’m g now,’ she said.
She said she had tried to keep up with her sister, but Diana-Lebo had gone too fast for her.
Zimbabwean Nyahora dedicated her third place to the victims of the recent xenophobic violence in South Africa.
‘I was determined to finish in the top three so I could make a statement on behalf of the people who have been killed, injured or displaced by the violence,’ she said. ‘I was running for them today, and they were in my thoughts throughout the race.’
The Phalula twins and Nyahora will all be running in the First National Bank 12km race in Cape Town next week, against some top international runners, including former world champion Vivienne Cheruiyot of Kenya.
Former Grand Prix winner, Irvette van Zyl, who is expecting a baby in September, was delighted to finish in ninth position.
Picture of Nyahora , Dian-Lebo (centre) and Lebogang Phalula courtesy of Mark West
1 Diana-Lebo Phalula 32:57 2 Lebogang Phalula 33:26 3 Rutendo Nyahora 33:43 4 Nolene Conrad 33:54 5 Rene Kalmer 34:26 6 Cornelia Joubert 34:28 7 Christine Kalmer 34:36 8 Mapaseka Makhanya 34:44 9 Irvette van Zyl 34:49 10 Tebogo Masehla 35:11
Junior (15-19 Age Group): 1 Simonay Weitsz 38:09 2 Hanli Etsebeth 38:49 3 Jamie Lee Schlemmer 40:39
Veteran (40-49 Age Group): 1 Janene Carey 39:26 2 Lana Theunissen 40:51 3 Ronel Thomas 42:15
Master (50-59 Age Group): 1 Judy Bird 39:58 2 Christine Claasen 42:43 3 Janette Shierz Crusius 43:32
Grandmaster (60-69 Age Group): 1 Margie Saunders 43:01 2 Sonja Laxton 48:28 Renee Hawkridge 50:03
Grandmaster (70+ Age Group): 1 Ronelle Steyn 01:07:44 2 Retha van der Merwe 01:12:09 3 Dorothy Hart 01:17:45
Source : South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee