In the penultimate race on the SPAR Grand Prix, the leading lady extended her domination. Out of the starting blocks, Irvette van Zyl edged to the front of the pack, leading marginally for the majority of the race, with Lebogang Phalula and Rutendo Nyahora tailing her closely.
Approximately 4 kilometres from the finish, the star runner set her sights on the finish line. She charged her way through the runners, joining the top three and matching their pace for the last few kilometres of the run. As they wound their way to the stadium, she secured her position on the top step of the podium, cementing her first spot on the Grand Prix series. Having started the 2017 series with a first in Cape Town, a first in Port Elizabeth, a second in Durban and third in Pretoria, she went into the Pietermaritzburg race with a decent 19 point lead ahead of van Zyl.
“I really enjoyed the run today, it was a really nice route. I love the hills, I grew up in a hilly area, so they don’t bother me. It was cold, and I took a while to warm up but I am really glad that I ran. It was a good test before I take on the 5,000m in World Student Games in Taipei this week. I am the only South African running the 5,000m and I want to do my country proud, so today has motivated me and given me the opportunity to challenge myself.”
Molotsane departed directly after the race, heading straight to the airport to go compete in Taiwan with her first 5,000m heat taking place on 25th August and the finals on 27th August. “I needed special permission to run in Pietermaritzburg from the Federation, but I think it was good for me ahead of running against the top international athletes. I wanted to retain my position in the Grand Prix to stay on top of the leaderboard, so needed to compete today.”
Second on the leaderboard, van Zyl said, “I gave it my best but my best wasn’t good enough. I needed to push it as I find myself in a difficult situation with points on the Grand Prix log, I needed to win and get bonus points to stay in the game.”
“I am an impatient runner, so I tend to break early and take up the pace. It usually works for me but I just couldn’t hang in there. Kesa ran really well. I have had a tough year, with the injury that forced me out of the Durban race, I have been working hard to have a fighting chance. But I am glad it was a pain free run. I also like hilly courses, so enjoyed the my first time on the Maritzburg course.”
A total of 4,500 runners took to the course in a chilly 3 degrees. Peter Deeb, Marketing Director of SPAR KZN said, “Having the Maritzburg race being included in the Grand Prix has certainly raised the profile of the race. Everyone had a fantastic time, and we were full to capacity. We are very pleased with the numbers, and it is always wonderful to give back to our community as road running has a huge following here in Pietermaritzburg.”
SPAR South Africa’s support of a variety of sports includes the development of the Grand Prix running series over a number of years, providing great opportunities for runners across the country. SPAR Brand visibility is strong with digital media coverage of the events generating extensive awareness.