Lebogang Phalula (centre), shares her celebrates with runner-up Nolene Conrad (right) and third-placed Zintle Xiniwe on Wednesday. Photo: Stephen Granger

CAPE TOWN – Johannesburg athlete Lebogang Phalula raced to a convincing victory in Wednesday’s 16th annual Totalsports Women’s Race 10km, crossing the finish line at the Grand Parade in 34 minutes 21 seconds.

The city was a blaze of pink as over 7 000 women completed the hilly circuit from the City Hall, through the Company Gardens and around the eastern city centre and District Six in support of the race charity, Pink Drive, on Women’s Day.

“I decided to race in Cape Town instead of Johannesburg today – I really love coming here,” admitted Phalula.

“I’m in good shape and thought I could chase the incentive on offer for running faster than 33 minutes. But haai, no one told me how hilly the course was! It will be very hard to break 33 minutes on this course – perhaps Tirunesh Dibaba could!

“But I love running in Cape Town. The vibe and support at the Totalsports Women’s Race is amazing. Coming from Johannesburg, I didn’t think that anyone would know me here, but everywhere on the route, there were people cheering and shouting my name. It was such a nice surprise.”

Nolene Conrad and Zintle Xiniwe set the early pace, with Phalula content to hold back.

But when she made her move on an uphill section shortly after 3km, the local pair were unable to respond and Phalula quickly opened a gap.

Phalula, the Two Oceans Half-Marathon 2015 champion and a regular podium finisher in the Cape Town Spar Women’s 10km race, was 15 seconds up at halfway and increased her supremacy in the second half to finish 38 seconds clear of Conrad, with Xiniwe a further 39 seconds back.

South African Olympian Irvette van Zyl won the Johannesburg leg of the event, holding off Glenrose Xaba to win by 28 seconds in 34:09. 

Cape Town Results

1 Lebogang Phalula (Boxer) 34:21, 2 Nolene Conrad (KPMG) 34:59, 3 Zintle Xiniwe (KPMG) 35:38, 4 Vuyiseka Nkumenge (Ned WP) 37:12, 5 Bulelwa Simae (Ned WP) 37:22, 6 Ulrica Stander (KPMG) 38:09, 7 Candyce Hall (Carbineers) 39:13, 8 Megan Dempster (NMMU) 39:56, 9 Ivy Sogiba (Ned WP) 40:05, 10 Obertina Kanyongo (Ned WP) 40:39.

Johannesburg Results

1 Irvette van Zyl 34:09, 2 Glenrose Xaba 34:37, 3 Maria Shai 36:08, 4 Cornelia Joubert 36:37, 5 Christine Kalmer 37:26, 6 Nqobile Thobile Vilakazi 38:14, 7 Katy van Meter 38:24, 8 Yolande Maclean 38:57, 9 Maria Vilakazi 39:09, 10 Judy Bird 39:35.

Cape Times