Glenrose Xaba breaks foreign stranglehold at Spar Grand Prix in Cape Town

Glenrose Xaba celebrates after winning a Spar road race

Glenrose Xaba, champion of the Series back in 2018, showed incredible tenacity to claw back a lead she had lost in the final stages of the race and win by seven seconds in a time of 32:17. Picture: Ashley Vlotman/Gallo Images

Published Mar 24, 2024


The foreign stranglehold on the Spar Grand Prix Series has been loosened, at least for now. This after Glenrose Xaba won the opening race for the 2024 edition of the popular 10km women’s event in Cape Town on Sunday morning.

Xaba, champion of the Series back in 2018, showed incredible tenacity to claw back a lead she had lost in the final stages of the race and win by seven seconds in a time of 32:17. Her victory was made all the more special by the fact she was the first South African runner to win a Spar Grand Prix race in five years.

In those years the top spot on the podium in all races around the country has been occupied by either of Tadu Nare of Ethiopia or Namibia’s Helalia Johannes. But Xaba has always been there in the fight, regularly finishing third but just never looking like grabbing the glory.

It all changed Sunday as she overcame yet another Ethiopian onslaught by teenager Diniya Kedir Abraya who finished second while her compatriot and Nedbank Running Club teammate Getenesh Agafaw finished third in 33:02.

Door wide open

The absence of three-time defending champion Nare and regular runner up Salem Gebre – both of Ethiopia – as well as Johannes from the maiden race of the year, the door was left wide open for a local athlete to shine. And Xaba started as the favourite, her great run in winning the national 10km title a fortnight ago making her the one to beat.

She lived up to expectations, although only after she’d been given a scare and then showing grit and determination to cross the finish line ahead of everyone.

Xaba took the lead around the halfway mark but then slacked with two kilometres to go and allowed Abraya to take charge and open a gap. But the versatile Boxer Athletic Club starlet who is heading to the World Cross Country Championships in Serbia this week got back to register a rare victory by a local.

Xaba’s took delight in being top of the leader board in the series with four more races (Durban, Tshwane, Johannesburg and Gqeberha) left before the champion is crowned.

“It was a good race and it went according to the plan I had discussed with my coach,” she said after the race.

“When Abraya started sprinting (away), I was surprised and thought she had misjudged the finish. But I did not give up. I’ve been working hard on my finishing speed which helped in the end, and I was very excited to get the win.”

She would be even more excited if she won the overall series. But with Nare and Gebre set to return for the other races, Xaba will have her work cut out for her. She is in great form though, and there is every reason to believe she can ensure the Grand Prix title returns home for the first time since she last won it in 2018.


Open: 1 Glenrose Xaba (Boxer) 32:17, 2 Diniya Kedir Abaraya (Nedbank) 32:24, 3 Getenesh Agafaw (Nedbank) 33:02, 4 Cacisile Sosibo (Boxer) 33:06, 5 Kesa Molotsane (Kovsies) 33:17, 6 Karabo Mailula (Tuks) 34:43, 7 Lebogang Phalula-Luthuli (Boxer) 35:49, 8 Lebo Phalula-Mzazi (Boxer) 35:50, 9 Bianca Tarboton (Temp) 35:58, 10 Betha Sitariko (Atlantic) 36:25

Juniors (U-20): 1 Diniya Kedir Abaraya (Nedbank) 32:24, 2 Getenesh Agafaw (Nedbank) 33:02, 3 Alulutho Mithani (Khayalitsha) 41:52

Veterans (40-49): 1 Lebogang Phalula-Luthuli (Boxer) 35:49, 2 Lebo Phalula-Mzazi (Boxer) 35:50, 3 Christiane Adriaanse (Nedbank) 38:58

Masters (50-59): 1 Anne Stewart (Atlantic) 40:19, 2 Ronel Thomas (Boxer) 40:49, 3 Janene Carey (Boxer) 40:49

Grandmasters (60-69): 1 Judy Bird (Boxer) 42:18, 2 Dee Smale (Totalsports VOB) 45:04, 3 Grace de Oliveira (Maxed Elite) 45:15