Mlambo up for Challenge

Linda Moreotsene

Linda Moreotsene

For most female runners, the Spar Women's 10km Challenge has become one of the must-run races in local athletics.

Every year, thousands of women participate in this series that takes place in five cities around South Africa.

Defending champion Poppy Mlambo won her title by default when Athletics South Africa stripped overall winner Zintle Xiniwe of the title, and Mlambo, who had been second, is determined to win the series the old-fashioned way this year.

The first race takes place in Cape Town on April 5.

"As the holder, defending it is obviously important. My preparations have begun, and by running the Durban City Marathon I took care of the endurance part of the programme. The only thing left is for me to fine-tune the sprinting part," Mlambo said.

Mlambo faces some worthy foes in 2007 Grand Prix winner Rene Kalmer, Annerien van Schalkwyk and Zimbabwean Sharon Tavenga, who never fail to put forth a strong challenge in these races.

"I am not sure who will be there but you can count on the fact it will be intense," she said.

The second race takes place on May 2 in Port Elizabeth. The overall winner takes home R50000.