Nare clinches the first leg of Women's Challenge 10km series

Xaba finished second, and Kavanagh third

Ethiopian Tadu Nare and SA runner Glenrose Xaba in action during the Maritzburg leg of the Spar Women’s Challenge.
Ethiopian Tadu Nare and SA runner Glenrose Xaba in action during the Maritzburg leg of the Spar Women’s Challenge.

Ethiopian runner Tadu Nare of the Nedbank Running Club took advantage of the absence of the race favourites to win the first race of the Spar Women's Challenge 10km race of the Grand Prix Series at Alexandra Park in Pietermaritzburg yesterday.

It was a landslide victory for Nare as she destroyed the field to walk away with R25,000 for winning the first race in the seven-race series.

Defending champion Helalia Johannes and other favourites, Irvette van Zyl and Gerda Steyn, missed the race due to injuries. It was therefore an open race as Nare led from the start to finish, stopping the clock at 32:22:47.

Glenrose Xaba of the Boxer Running Club finished a distant second in 33:40:80, while Tayla Kavanagh settled for third place in 33:50:96.

Twenty-year-old Kavanagh made the podium for the first time in her first season as a senior athlete and received R15,000 for her effort.  Her Murray & Roberts Running Club mate and previous champion Kesa Molotsane finished fourth in 34:43:80.

Nare grabbed R25,000 for her victory while Xaba took home R17,500 second prize.

“Helalia and Irvette would have pushed us to run a faster race. The competition was good, but it would have been better if the pair were here. The course was challenging, and if it was flat, I could have run faster. There were many hills. Maybe in Cape Town, I can do better. I started the race well, and I was comfortable that I could win it,” said Nare after the race.

Xaba said she completed the race even though she has a knee injury. “I ran the race through the pain. I felt the pain in the morning, and my knee started to feel sore. It was too painful, and I thought of walking. I had planned well and wanted to win the race. I attended rehab for three months and stopped going, and that cost me. Tadu beat me; she was fast. It is going to be a different race when the other ladies return for the next race. I will do my best to win the next one,” said Xaba.

Though the conditions in Pietermaritzburg were perfect for a 10km run, it was a bit strange for the runners to race without spectators that would normally cheer them on.

The next race will take place in Cape Town on Sep. 4 and Namibian Johannes is expected to return from injury as the  favourite to win the Grand Prix Series at the end.

Cape Town, Gqeberha, Durban, Tshwane, and Johannesburg will host the remaining races of the series.

The overall winner on points after the seven races will collect a whopping R190,000, with the runner-up taking home R90,000 and third R55,000.

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