Stiff Competition in SPAR Challenge

by | Oct 11, 2006

Some of South Africa’s top runners will be competing in the SPAR Women’s 10km Challenge with Bokomo in Randburg on Sunday, and a fierce battle for top honours is expected.

Ronel Thomas has been having an excellent year, and has won several Challenge Series races, but she is taking nothing for granted.  “Poppy (Mlambo) and I have been competing very well against each other recently, and we always enjoy a hard race.

“Of course, you must never forget about Louisa Leballo, who is always a threat.  And then there’s Rene Kalmer, who has also been having a good year,” said Thomas.

Thomas was happy with the course, which race coordinator Ian Laxton described as ‘interesting’.

“It’s quite hilly and should suit the hard runners,” said Laxton.

“I like that,” said Thomas.  “As far as I am concerned, the more challenging the course, the better I like it.  I hate a really flat course – I find them very boring.”

Thomas said she was not concerned about the weather on race day.  “I have enough to think about without worrying about the weather,” she said.

“I don’t mind what sort of weather we have – I enjoy running in any weather, hot or cold.  Of course, if it is slightly overcast, that is really nice – I always seem to breathe better when it is a bit overcast.”

Thomas has represented South Africa on numerous occasions, including the World Cross Country championships and the World Half Marathon Championships.

This year she won the Port Elizabeth and Durban Challenges, as well as two of the four Nedbank Series races.

Mlambo had also represented South Africa in numerous international track, road and cross country events.  She won the Durban Challenge in 2002, 2003 and 2004, and was runner-up in 2005 and this year.

Another runner taking the Challenge is the evergreen Sonja Laxton, who has won more than 110 South African titles in various age categories on the road, track and cross country.

More than 5 000 women have entered the Challenge so far, and more entries are expected during race registration on Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

Entries will be accepted up till just before the race.

Registration is at the race venue at Old Parktonians.

or more information contact the race office on 011 442 8256, or email [email protected]

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