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Barefooted Phalula blitzes to victory in PE
- Updated: May 3, 2014
Barefoot runner Diana-Leo Phalula set Port Elizabeth alight on Saturday morning when she won the SPAR Women’s 10km Challenge in a record time of 32min 27sec.
Rene Kalmer finished second, in 33.27, and last year’s Grand Prix winner, Mapaseka Makhanya was third in 33.28. Ethiopian runner Hunduma Gemeda, who was second in the Cape Town race, was fourth, in 33.35.
Phalula’s time was the fastest in a Challenge race and the fourth fastest time by a South African in any race. Kalmer ran the same time at the South African Championships in Stellenbosch in 2009, Zola Budd ran 31.42 in Oslo in 1984 and Colleen de Reuck ran 31.38 in Durban in 2000. The fastest time by a South African is Elana Meyer’s 31.13 in Budapest in 2001.
Phalula, seen here jumping for joy after her victory, made her break early in the race, after running in a group led by two Ethiopian runners, Gemeda and Chelity Asefa, for the first two kilometres.┬á ÔÇ£I was feeling very motivated and I decided to get away from the others. ┬áI just kept going and I didn’t look back. The weather was good for running and I felt very relaxed,ÔÇØ she said.
Phalula said she believed the improvement in her times was a result of training with men. ÔÇ£They motivate me, and I’m training very hard,ÔÇØ she said. She said she was aiming to secure a place in the South African team for the Commonwealth Games, running the 5000m and the 800m.
Kalmer said she was very happy with her second place. ÔÇ£After coming eighth in Cape Town, I’m just pleased to be back in the top three,ÔÇØ she said. ÔÇ£The Ethiopians started very fast, so I just decided to run my own race,ÔÇØ said Kalmer.
ÔÇ£I tried to keep within striking distance of the leaders, but Lebo was just too strong for us today.ÔÇØ
ÔÇ£Lebo ran a great race,ÔÇØ said Makhanya. ÔÇ£It was my third competitive road race this year, and I just want to carry on. ┬áThe more you race, the more competitive you become.
Makhanya also has her sights set on the Commonwealth Games, while Kalmer is to travel to the United States to run a number of races there.
With two victories under her belt, Phalula is now well on her way to securing the SPAR Grand Prix and the first prize of a new Nissan Micra.
1 Diana Lebo Phalula (Maxed Elite) 32.27; 2 Rene Kalmer (Modern Athlete) 33.27; 3 Mapaseka Makhanya (Boxer) 33.28; 4 Hunduma Gemeda (Nedbank) 33.35; 5 Rutendo Nyahora (Nedbank) 33.48; 6 Lebogang Phalula (Transnet) 34.06, 7 Chelity Asefa (Nedbank) 34.18; 8 Lineo Chaka (Nedbank) 34.27; 9 Nolene Conrad (Boxer) 34.39; 10 Irvette van Zyl (Nedbank) 34.54.
Juniors: 1 Simonay Weitsz 35.46; 2 Annie Bothma 35.57; 3 Nicole van der Merwe 37.10; 4 Jamie-Lee Schlemmer 39.36; 5 Siphokazi Nojoko 42.57
Age group 40-49: 1 Ronel Thomas 38.34; 2 Janene Carey 38.40; 3 Lana Theunissen 41.13
Picture: Mark West
Age group 50-59: 1 Elmarie Coetzee 40.57; 2 Annatjie Botes 42.41; 3 Janette Scheirz-Crusius 44.19
Age group 60-69: 1 Margie Saunders 42.26; 2 Liz Grundlingh 53.22; 3 Sonja Laxton 57.12