It was two out of two for Warrant Officer Helalia Johannes, as the Namibian solidier raced with military precision to her second SPAR Women’s 10km Challenge Grand Prix title at Greenpoint this morning (Sunday) in one of the fastest times run in South Africa.
Twenty thousand took part in the annual celebration of women’s running and walking over 5 km and 10 km in surprisingly warm winter’s weather.
The 38-year-old Johannes is the reigning Cape Town Marathon champion, but her improvement as an athlete in the last 6 months has been particularly impressive. She bettered her previous marathon best by seven minutes to clock 2 hr 22 min in Nagoya, Japan, in March and shattered the Two Oceans Half Marathon record last month.
Johannes appears to set Namibian national records whenever she runs, and her 31 min 45 sec performance this morning improves her own record, set just two weeks ago in the first leg of the series in Port Elizabeth, but just five seconds. Her time is the fastest ever for the Cape Town leg of the SPAR series – 42 seconds quicker than Elana Van Zyl Meyer’s 32:27 in 1996 – and is the 8th fastest 10 km ever run in South Africa, 31 seconds off Ugandan Stella Chesang’s all time record, set last year.
“I’m really happy to have set another Nambian record,” Johannes confessed. “The conditions were not perfect for running – there was a warm wind out there and the paving along the promenade is not as quick as a tar road – so I think I can still go a bit faster!