The final race in the 2013 SPAR Women’s 10km Challenge series could be the most hotly contested this year, with Ethiopian runners Yeshimebet Tadesse Bifa and Alemtsehay Hailu Kakissa adding some excitement to the race. Bifa has a best time of 31 minutes for 10kms, and is going to be hard to beat.
Another international competitor is Zimbabwean Rutendo Nyahora, who won the City2City 10km last month, in addition to the Cape Town and Port Elizabeth legs of the Challenge series.
On the home front, South Africa’s top local runners will also be battling it out for top honours, and Transnet’s Mapaseka Makhanya has been in sublime form in recent weeks. She won the Durban and Pretoria Challenge races and has her eyes set firmly on victory on Sunday.
With a lead of 29 points over her nearest rival, Irvette van Zyl, Makhanya is virtually assured of winning the Challenge Grand Prix title and picking up the keys to a brand new Nissan Micra.
The bubbly single mother says she’s very excited about her achievements on the road, although her first love is running on the track. “I really started running on the road just to get some distance into my legs as I move into the longer races.
“But I’ve enjoyed the experience, and I love the SPAR races. There is a fantastic vibe and it is a completely different experience from running on the track.
“I’m also very excited about the thought of winning a motor car. That is an awesome thought. I know there is a remote chance that Irvette can overtake me, but I’m going to be going all out to win the Joburg race, just to make sure that car comes to me!”
As before, Nedbank runners are likely to dominate the top 10 places on Sunday, and Rene Kalmer – who has won more Challenge races than any other athlete, appears to be back to top form, after winning the South African 21km title in East London two weeks ago.
Irvette van Zyl is fresh from victory in the Petro SA half marathon in Mossel Bay at the end of September, and she appears to have got over the injury problems that have been troubling her.
(With editing by gsport)