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SPAR WOMEN'S CHALLENGE CELEBRATES 30 YEARS OF ROAD RUNNING IN DURBAN

19 June 2019


The oldest race in the SPAR Women’s Challenge series – the Durban race – turns 30 this year and organisers predict a fast and exciting race as part of the celebrations on Sunday. The Durban Challenge takes place two weeks after South Africa’s most famous race, the Comrades Marathon.
 
Many of the women who did well in the Comrades Marathon cut their road-running teeth on SPAR Challenge races.  Gold medallists Jenna Challenor and Charne Bosman are both former SPAR Challenge winners, while Comrades winner Gerda Steyn finished second in the Joburg race last year, after entering as part of her training for marathons.
 
There will once again be a very strong field for Sunday’s race at King’s Park. Namibian Helalia Johannes (Nedbank), who won the Port Elizabeth and Cape Town races in record time, will be attempting to make it three in a row, and the talented Ethiopian junior Tadu Nare (Nedbank), who finished second in Port Elizabeth and third in Cape Town will also be running on Sunday.

Among the top South Africans competing are 2017 Grand Prix winner Kesa Molotsane (Murray & Roberts) and three-times Grand Prix winner Irvette van Zyl (Nedbank). Last year’s podium finishers, Betha Chikanga (Maxed Elite), Glenrose Xaba (Boxer) and Nolene Conrad (Murray & Roberts) are also expected to compete on Sunday.
 
The elite runners are expected to put up fast times. In Cape Town, the first 11 were all under the 2018 winning time. The first seven in Port Elizabeth beat the previous year’s winning time and the trend is expected to continue. 
 
“Durban is traditionally the fastest race of the series,” said SPAR Grand Prix coordinator Ian Laxton.“It depends on the weather, of course, but I expect a lot of runners to earn bonus points for finishing in less than last year’s winning time.”



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