Namibian Helalia Johannes on her way to victory in yesterday’s Spar Women’s 10km Challenge race in Joburg: Photo: Reg Caldecott
Namibian Helalia Johannes on her way to victory in yesterday’s Spar Women’s 10km Challenge race in Joburg: Photo: Reg Caldecott

Johannes makes it a six out of six clean sweep of Grand Prix Series

By Mbongiseni Buthelezi Time of article published Oct 7, 2019

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JOHANNESBURG – A result that was never in doubt materialised in typically domineering style as Helalia Johannes wrapped up the Spar Women’s 10km Grand Prix Series with yet another win in Johannesburg yesterday.

The Namibian clocked an impressive 33min 16sec to beat Gerda Steyn by over a minute as she completed an unprecedented clean sweep of the six-race series.

Fresh from winning the marathon bronze medal at the IAAF World Athletics Championships in Doha last week, the 38-year-old was hardly challenged as she took the lead from the third kilometre of the race.

Her delight at bagging the R185 000 prize money put aside for the Series winner knew no bounds.

“This is very exciting for me. I am very happy to make six out of six today. I will be investing some of the money that I won today and give some to my coach.”

Easy as her win appeared, Johannes said she had to dig deep to beat the stellar field.

“It was not easy as I had another race last Friday (in Doha). I thank God preparations have gone well. I will go back and sit down with coach and plan for the next race. It has been a great year for me in which I did extra-ordinarily well.”

On that score she was spot on, Johannes having shattered some course records as she obliterated the opposition in the six races. And her success this season was not limited to the Spar Series as she also had great runs elsewhere.

Apart from the World Champs, she also had a superb run in the Nagoya Marathon where she smashed her previous record in the 42.2km by a massive seven minutes in clocking a 2:22 in the Japan race in March. She also ran a record half marathon at the Two Oceans.

In yesterday’s race, Comrades Marathon champion Steyn finished in 34:238 and described the run as being good for helping sharpen her up for next month’s New York Marathon.

“I decided to use this race as part of my preparation for New York. I feel very honoured to have been invited there again. And today I am happy that I bettered my PB in the Joburg leg of the Series. I also finished in a better position as I was third last year.”

The other runner who bettered her position was Irvette Van Zyl who came in at third place.

Van Zyl recently had an operation on her left leg but has made such a strong comeback that she finished as the best placed South African in the Series.

Her bronze medal position yesterday meant she overtook Kesa Moletsane in the overall standings to finish third behind Ethiopian Tadu Naru.

Mbongiseni Buthelezi


The Star

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