Olympian Kalmer runner-up to Ethiopian ace | SASCOC - SASCOC

Olympian Kalmer runner-up to Ethiopian ace

Ethiopian Gezashigh Hunduma Gemeda, running in the Nedbank colours, romped to victory in the SPAR Women’s 10-kilometre Challenge at the Wanderers Club in Johannesburg on Sunday in a time of 33min 49 seconds.

South African half marathon champion Rene Kalmer (Nedbank) was second in 34.31, followed by Rutendo Nyahora, also Nedbank, in 35 minutes. Lebo-Diana Phalula (Maxed Elite) was fourth, in 35.37 minutes.

Running on the new route through some of Johannesburg’s leafy northern suburbs, Nyahora took the early lead, but the Ethiopian, who arrived in South Africa on Saturday, surged to the front after three kilometres, and retained her lead for the rest of the race.ÔÇ£It was a lovely race ÔÇô I liked the route and I enjoyed the atmosphere,ÔÇØ said Gemeda.

Kalmer said she had an awesome race. ÔÇ£It feels good to be running injury free again, and I was feeling very good.┬á I didn’t know what to expect from Gezashigh, because I haven’t run against her before, but I tried my very best and I am pleased with the way I ran,ÔÇØ she said.

ÔÇ£I feel I am back in the swing of things, and I am looking forward to next year.ÔÇØ ÔÇ£It is slightly bittersweet to lose to a foreigner running in my own club colours, but it is always good to test yourself against world class runners,ÔÇØ said Kalmer.

Nyahora, who won the first two races in the 2013 Challenge Series, said she was happy to be back in the top three in the race. ÔÇ£I finished fourth in Pretoria, so it was nice to feel I was back again. Third place was a victory for me.ÔÇØ

The leader on the SPAR Grand Prix ladder, Mapaseka Makhanya, who won the Durban and Pretoria legs of the series, finished outside the top 10, but she had built up such a substantial lead that she will still receive the keys to the Nissan Micra presented to the overall Grand Prix winner. Irvette van Zyl, who was the only runner who could overtake her, was unable to run on Sunday because of a knee injury.

Nearly 11000 women took part in the 10km Challenge and the 5km Fun Run, which meant the designated charity, Reach for Recovery, which is a support group for breast cancer patients, received a substantial cheque. Race organisers received positive feedback on the new route ÔÇ£there was one section after Killarney where we ran through a grove of trees, it was so beautiful. A great routeÔÇØ

The first three runners, on Sunday, are pictured here (left to right) Rutendo Nyahora (placed third), Gezashigh Hunduma Gemeda (winner) and Rene Kalmer (placed second).

Picture: Reg Caldecott