HELALIA IN POLE POSITION FOR SPAR GRAND PRIX
07 August 2019
Helalia Johannes (Nedbank) appears to have the 2019 SPAR Grand Prix title in the bag.
Thirty-nine-year-old Johannes has won the first four races in the SPAR Women’s Challenge series – all of them in record time – and has a 15-point lead on the SPAR Grand Prix ladder.On Saturday, she smashed the record for the Tshwane leg of the SPAR Grand Prix, winning it in 32.39 minutes. She now has 120 points, and appears to have an unassailable lead.
Ethiopian junior Tadu Nare (Nedbank) is in second place, with 105 points. Nare came second in Port Elizabeth, Durban and Tshwane and third in Cape Town, earning bonus points in the first three races. She now has 105 points.
The 2017 SPAR Grand Prix winner, Kesa Molotsane (Murray & Roberts) is in third place, with 80 points. She came third in Cape Town and sixth in Port Elizabeth, earning bonus points in both races. She was seventh in Durban and eighth in Tshwane, but did not earn bonus points.
Three times Grand Prix winner, Irvette van Zyl (Nedbank) is in fourth position on the ladder. Van Zyl had to miss the Tshwane race after undergoing surgery to repair an ongoing nerve problem in her left leg. She has 78 points, after coming fifth in Port Elizabeth, seventh in Cape Town and third in Johannesburg, with bonus points in each race.
Last year’s Grand Prix winner, Glenrose Xaba (Boxer) has had a quiet year, and is 13th on the leaderboard. She came ninth in Port Elizabeth, 12thin Cape Town, fourth in Durban and 16th in Tshwane, and has 54 points.
Johannes said her main focus now was the World Marathon Championships in Doha in October. While she was committed to running in Pietermaritzburg on August 18, she said she could not guarantee that she would run in the Johannesburg race, because it was immediately after the World Championships.
“I will have to see how my body feels before I decide,” she said.
Molotsane said she was very pleased to have international runners competing in the SPAR races vying for the SPAR Grand Prix title.“They have done so much for road running in South Africa,” said Molotsane.“They are running fast times and that is forcing us to run faster as well.”
In the club competition, Nedbank has a massive lead, with 557 points. Boxer is in second place, with 176 and Maxed Elite is third, with 163 points.
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