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29 May 2019

The 2019 SPAR Grand Prix appears to be destined to be won by a foreign runner for the first time in its history.
Namibian sensation Helalia Johannes has made a solid start in her quest for Grand Prix glory, winning the first two SPAR Women’s 10km races, in Port Elizabeth and Cape Town, in record time.She has accumulated 60 points, having earned 10 bonus points in both races.
The Cape Town SPAR Challenge is remarkable in that the first 11 runners to cross the finish line all recorded times under 34 minutes and all earned valuable bonus points.  

The exciting Ethiopian junior, Tadu Teshame (Nedbank) is in second position with 57 points, after finishing second in Port Elizabeth and third in Cape Town.  Seven runners earned bonus points in Port Elizabeth.
Two former Grand Prix winners, Kesa Molotsane (Murray & Roberts) and Irvette van Zyl (Nedbank) are in third and fourth place.  Molotsane, who finished third in Port Elizabeth and sixth in Cape Town, has 53 points. Van Zyl finished fifth and seventh respectively and has 50 points.
In 2019, Van Zyl was the only runner to earn bonus points when she won the Joburg Challenge in record time.  The fast pace of the races this year has been attributed to the presence of a number of international athletes from Namibia, Ethiopia, Kenya and Zimbabwe. In Cape Town, the first five to finish were all runners from other African countries.  
Molotsane welcomed the presence of the international athletes.“They stimulate us to run faster,” she said. “Their presence will do great things for running in South Africa.”

Last year’s Grand Prix winner. Glenrose Xaba (Boxer) has had a quiet year so far, finishing ninth in Port Elizabeth and 12th in Cape Town, for a total of 21 points.Junior runners are earning Grand Prix points in only four of the six SPAR Challenge races, with Cape Town the first of these. Teshame tops the log in the junior category, with 10 points.  Another Ethiopian, Birho Adhena, is second, with nine and Chante Dixon (Murray & Roberts) is in third place, with eight.
In the 40-49 category, Bulelwa Simae (Boxer) is first, with nine points from two races, Janene Carey (Boxer) is second with seven points and Christiane Adriaanse (K-Way) is third with five.
Comrades Marathon gold medallist Grace d’Oliviera (Murray & Roberts) leads the 50-59 category with nine points, followed by Obertina  Kangyongo  (Nedbank) with five and Christine Claassen (Achilles) with four.
The leader of the 60 plus category is Margie Saunders (Nedbank) with 15 points, including five bonus points from the Cape Town race.  She is followed by Olga Howard (Nedbank), who also earned bonus points in Cape Town. She has nine points and Nancy Will (Pinelands) has six points.
In the club competition, Maxed Elite Zimbabwe leads the way with 91 points, followed by Nedbank Ethiopia with 67 and Nedbank International with 60. The leading South African team is Murray & Roberts FS with 53 points and Nedbank CG with 50.

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