Johannesburg – With most of South Africa’s top runners competing in the Spar Women’s 10km Challenge at Pollok Beach in Port Elizabeth on Saturday, the race for Grand Prix points is wide open.
The Grand Prix leader after the first race in Cape Town in March is Mapaseka Makhanya, who came second to Rutendo Nyahora of Zimbabwe.
Being Zimbabwean, Nyahora did not qualify for the Grand Prix, in which the top runners collect points from the five Challenge races held around the country.
After one race, Makhanya had 19 points, and third placed Zintle Xiniwe (Maxed Elite WP) was on 13.
Makhanya and Xiniwe faced strong competition from Rene Kalmer and Irvette van Zyl, who had 17 and 16 points respectively.
Kalmer, who has won the Grand Prix three times, recently returned to competitive running after a long lay-off because of an Achilles tendon injury sustained during the Olympic Marathon in London last year.
Although she finished fourth in the Cape Town race, she issued a warning to her rivals after the Cape Town race, saying she expected to be back at her best for the Port Elizabeth race.
Van Zyl, who has won the Grand Prix twice, was also in good form. She was 10th woman home in the London Marathon and can be expected to give a good account of herself in Port Elizabeth on Saturday.
“I was very pleased with my performance in the London Marathon, although I found the last eight kilometres very tough,” said Van Zyl.
“I’ve had some trouble with numbness in my leg and, in the last few kilometres, I was struggling with a sore knee and a blister. But I had a personal best and I enjoyed the Marathon much more than I did last year.”
Van Zyl said she expected a fierce struggle for top place, and a fast time in Port Elizabeth.
“The other girls are going to give us a hard time.”
At the end of the five-race series, the runner with most points will win a Nissan Micra. The second-placed athlete receives R30 000. – Sapa
Article source: http://www.thepost.co.za/fast-times-expected-in-pe-1.1509538