The SPAR Grand Prix reaches the halfway mark on Sunday, with the running of the SPAR Women’s 10km Challenge in Durban.
Defending Grand Prix champion Kesa Molotsane has taken steps to ensure that she retains her title at the end of the year. She won the first two races, in Cape Town and Port Elizabeth and has 40 points – two ahead of her nearest rival, Glenrose Xaba, who finished second in both races. Xaba has 38 points.
Molotsane appears to be in good form. She was the first South African home in the Cape Town OneRun 12km race in May, finishing third against a strong international field, with an impressive time of 39.53 minutes.
Last year’s Grand Prix runner-up Irvette van Zyl gave birth to a second son a few weeks ago, and will not be running on Sunday.
Zimbabwean runners Patience Murowe, Rudo Mhonderwa and Rutendo Nyahora will be competing and Murowe in particular could give Molotsane a run for her money. She finished third in Port Elizabeth.
Other elite runners who could perform well include Nolene Conrad, who missed the Port Elizabeth race because she was recovering from a heavy schedule, Christine Kalmer and the Phalula twins, Lebogang and Diana-Lebo – both former Grand Prix winners.
So far this year, none of the elite runners has managed to earn bonus points by recording a faster time than last year, but this could change after Sunday. Bonus points are invaluable in the race for the top of the Grand prix ladder.
There is a new route this year, starting in Masabalala Yengwa Avenue, close to Jacko Jackson Drive. The 10km route loops around Kingsmead Cricket Stadium and passes the iconic Moses Mabida Stadium before finishing at King’s Park rugby ground.