Makhanya all set to motor to the big prize in Joburg | SASCOC - SASCOC

Makhanya all set to motor to the big prize in Joburg

Sunday’s final race in the 2013 SPAR Women’s 10km Challenge road race series in Johannesburg appears likely to be the most hotly contested this year.

And Transnet’s Mapaseka Makhanya is in pole position to drive off with a new car for overall victory in the Challenge Grand Prix stakes.

Adding some international flavour to the event will be two Ethiopian runners, Yeshimebet Tadesse Bifa and Alemtsehay Hailu Kakissa, who’ll be running for the Nedbank Green Dream Team.

Bifa has a best time of 31 minutes for 10ks, and is going to be hard to beat. Another international competitor is Zimbabwean Rutendo Nyahora, who won the City2City 10km last month. Nyahora also won the Cape Town and Port Elizabeth legs of the Challenge series.

Some of South Africa’s top local runners will also be battling it out for top honours. Rene Kalmer, who has won more Challenge races than any other athlete, appears to be back to top form, after winning the South African half-marathon title in East London two weeks ago.┬áAnd Irvette van Zyl is fresh from victory in the Petro SA half marathon in Mossel Bay at the end of September, and appears to have got over the injury problems that have been troubling her.

While Nedbank runners are likely to dominate the top 10 places on Sunday, Transnet’s Makhanya has been in sublime form in recent weeks.┬áShe won the Durban and Pretoria Challenge races and has her eyes set firmly on victory on Sunday.┬áWith a lead of 29 points over her nearest rival, Van Zyl, Makhanya is virtually assured of winning the Challenge Grand Prix title and picking up the keys to a brand new Nissan Micra.

The bubbly single mother says she’s very excited about her achievements on the road, although her first love is running on the track. ÔÇ£I really started running on the road just to get some distance into my legs as I move into the longer races.┬áBut I’ve enjoyed the experience, and I love the SPAR races. There is a fantastic vibe and it is a completely different experience from running on the track.

ÔÇ£I’m also very excited about the thought of winning a motor car. That is an awesome thought.┬á I know there is a remote chance that Irvette can overtake me, but I’m going to be going all out to win the Joburg race, just to make sure that car comes to me!ÔÇØ