Johannesburg – With an emphatic victory in the Nelson Mandela Bay leg of the SPAR Womenâ€™s 10km Challenge series on Saturday, Rene Kalmer (Nedbank CGA) extended her lead on the Grand Prix ladder and appears to be heading for her third Grand Prix title.
After two races, Kalmer has amassed a maximum of 60 points – 40 for winning the first two races, with time bonus points from each race. She is 24 points ahead of her nearest rivals, team-mate Irvette van Blerk and Mr Priceâ€™s Zintle Xiniwe, who have 36 points each.
Van Blerk, who won the Grand Prix in 2010 and 2011, finished third in both Cape Town and Port Elizabeth, while Xiniwe was fourth in Cape Town and second in Nelson Mandela Bay.
Grandmaster Sonja Laxton (RAC) and veteran Ronel Thomas are the only other runners to earn maximum points in their category, registering two wins with time bonus points. In the Masters category, Olga Howard and Grace de Oliveira each have won with time points.
Runners earn Grand Prix points from finishing in the top 20 in the five Challenge races, which are held in Cape Town, Nelson Mandela Bay, Durban, Pretoria and Johannesburg, with 10 bonus points for registering a faster time than the winning time the previous year.
The runner with the most points after the five races will win a Nissan Micra, with the runner-up pocketing R30 000 and the third-placed runner taking home R15 000. There are also cash prizes for the winners of the various age group categories, with points awarded for the first five in the category.
Kalmer and Van Blerk have both expressed their determination to run in all five races, although both are currently preparing to run in the Marathon at the Olympic Games in London in July.
â€œI really would love to win the car,â€? smiled Kalmer. â€œAlso, I enjoy running the SPAR races, and I can use the Durban race as part of my preparation for the Olympic Marathon. The 10km races help me build up my speed.â€?
Grand Prix standings after two races:
Open: 1 Rene Kalmer 60, 2 Irvette van Blerk 36, Zintle Xiniwe 36, 4 Portia Ngwenya 31, 5 Maxine Heine-Wacker 30
Junior: 1 Annie Bothma 9, 2 Pamela Mtshemla 5, 3 Jamie-Lee Schlemmer 4
Veteran: 1 Ronel Thomas 20, 2 Janene Carey 19, 3 Sheryl de Lange, Grizelda Pietersen 3
Master: 1 Olga Howard 10, Grace de Oliveira 10, 3 Annatjie Botes 8
Grandmaster: 1 Sonja Laxton 10, 2 Veronica van Niekerk 9, 3 Marietha Herbert 8