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Strong field for Spar Women's 10km Grand Prix Race

FILE - 2019 Grand Prix champion, Helalia Johannes (Nedbank) from Namibia, has confirmed her entry into Saturday’s 2022 Grand Prix series-opening 10km race in Gqeberha. Photo: Rogan Ward

FILE - 2019 Grand Prix champion, Helalia Johannes (Nedbank) from Namibia, has confirmed her entry into Saturday’s 2022 Grand Prix series-opening 10km race in Gqeberha. Photo: Rogan Ward

Published May 23, 2022

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Gqeberha — The Spar 2022 Women’s 10km Challenge Grand Prix looks set to for an exciting start in Gqeberha this weekend, when international and domestic road running stars line up at the Nelson Mandela University on Saturday morning.

The previous two Grand Prix winners, Helalia Johannes of Namibia and Tadu Nare of Ethiopia, will be battling it out for top honours. Now a veteran, Johannes earned maximum points in 2019, winning every race in record time. She missed the 2021 series, where Nare achieved a clean sweep.

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Nare went on to win her maiden marathon in Barcelona and will be brimming with confidence. The tussle between the two Nedbank runners should provide some thrilling running.

Another Ethiopian runner, Selam Gebre, will be making her Grand Prix debut and could cause some waves.

Others expected to shine include the evergreen three-times Grand Prix winner, Irvette van Zyl, (Nedbank) who finished second in the Two Oceans ultra-marathon in April; the 2017 winner Kesa Moletsane (Murray & Roberts), who was runner-up in 2021 and rising stars Tayla Kavanagh (M&R) and Cacisile Sosibo (Boxer).

The Phalula twins, Diana-Lebo and Lebogang (Boxer), are reported to be back at their best, and Zimbabwean runner Patience Murowe (Nedbank) cannot be ruled out.

After being crammed into eight weeks in 2021, the Grand Prix series returns to a calendar where the six races are spread out over a period of five months, giving the runners time to recover between races.

The system of bonus points has also been reintroduced, which should make competition even fiercer, with the emphasis on fast times.

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Although not back to the format of previous years, when thousands of women took part in each of the Women’s 10 km Challenge races, the events this year have been opened to 500 runners.

“Last year, we were privileged to host the closing race of the Grand Prix Series,” said Spar Eastern Cape Sponsorship Manager Alan Stapleton. “Now we have the even greater privilege of hosting the opening event of the 2022 Series.”

“In 2021, we were blown away by the quality of the runners, and particularly by Tadu Nare’s dominance, which sadly was blunted by the strong Gqeberha winds.

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This year we are hoping for a calm, wintery morning, with a route that should produce records and personal bests,” he said.

“Spar's flagship sponsorship, the Women’s 10km Challenge, has created an opportunity for us to celebrate women, their beauty, their power and their courage. At the same time it underlines the commitment to raising awareness of the scourge of gender-based violence,” said Stapleton.

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Athletics

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