Xiniwe a dark horse in Spar series

Linda Moreotsene

Linda Moreotsene

While Tshwane athlete Annerien van Schalkwyk is leading the Spar leader board, the Spar 10km Challenge taking place in Tshwane next month offers her rivals another shot at unseating her.

Van Schalkwyk positioned herself at the top when she came sixth last month in the Durban leg of this race, but unnoticed, young Cape Town runner Zintle Xiniwe, who finished third in Durban, has been creeping up the board.

After only two races she is now joint second with Michelle Bartman and in the running for the grand prize of R50000.

Other consistent performers in these races have been Gloria Baeba and Poppy Mlambo, who are in fourth and fifth place. With the Tshwane and Johannesburg legs to go, the race for top honours is wide open.

"This year my goal is to be in the top three and so far things are going according to plan. With the other two races still to be run, I am still in there with a chance. I am struggling with my fitness this year but am still hoping for the best," Mlambo said.

After effortlessly dominating the series last year, Rene Kalmer's title defence has been hampered by international commitments and a last-minute effort to qualify for the Beijing Olympics. She is in ninth place.