JOHANNESBURG - Irvette van Zyl continued her fantastic comeback, racing to victory in the final Women’s 10km Challenge race in Johannesburg at Marks Park in Emmarentia on Sunday.
The Olympic marathoner won her fourth consecutive 10-kilometre race after giving birth to her second child in June. Showing off her superb form Van Zyl navigated the second half of the race with aplomb breaking the tape in 34:07.
Two Oceans champion Gerda Steyn finished second behind her in a time of 34:57 with Kesa Moletsane bagging the bronze medal in 34:59. Van Zyl led the race from start to finish with Moletsane shadowing for large parts of the race.
“I was a bit over-eager at the start, and by six kilometres my legs were feeling very tired,” Van Zyl said. “I went out hard at the beginning because I knew the second half was quite tricky. I was running on my own, which is never easy, but I am very happy with the win.”
Van Zyl has experienced quite the comeback since the birth of her second child just 15 weeks ago, finishing fourth at the Pretoria leg of the series in August. She then won the controversial Pietermaritzburg race later that month and has continued to stamp her authority in local 10-km racing.
Van Zyl won two major 10km titles a day apart earlier this month when she raced to victory in Cape Town before crossing the line first at the FNB Joburg 10K CITYRUN. She posted the second fastest time of her career clocking 32:48 at the 10km race at the Cape Town Marathon before winning the FNB Joburg CityRun on September 24.
Glenrose Xaba, who finished fourth at Sunday's race, sealed the SPAR Grand Prix series title after amassing the most points over the six legs. The rest of the series standings will be decided when Athletics SA’s (ASA) council meets on October 13 to discuss the disputed outcome of the Pietermaritzburg race.
@gerdarun joins the formidable top 3 in 2nd place for the first time this series. Congratulations to star runner @irv87 who took the @SparJoburgRace in 1st place with a swift run from the beginning and top 3 favorite #kesaMolotsane in third #SPARJoburgRace pic.twitter.com/aCtB0tPhbo
Van Zyl won the Pietermaritzburg race where Xaba, Moletsane, Neheng Khatala and Mamorella Tjoka were disqualified after accidentally taking the wrong route. KwaZulu-Natal Athletics (KZNA) altered the results declaring Moletsane the winner relegating Van Zyl to fifth place. Should KZNA’s decision be upheld, Van Zyl and Rutendo Nyahora, third in Pietermaritzburg, would drop several places if they are stripped of the points they earned in the Pietermaritzburg.
1 Irvette van Zyl 34:07, 2 Gerda Steyn 34:57, 3 Kesa Moletsane 34:59, 4 Glenrose Xaba 35:05, 5 Betha Chikanga 36:10, 6 Rudo Monderwa 36:47, 7 Rutendo Nyahora 36:56, 8 Maria Shai 37:00, 9 Caroline Mhandu 37:10, 10 Patience Murowe 37:38.