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Phalula pulls out all the stops to defend Durban 10km race
- Updated: June 8, 2015
Defending champion Lebogang Phalula sprinted the last kilometre to win the Durban leg of the Spar Women’s Challenge in 33min 36sec on Sunday.
Phalula ran much of the race alongside Nolene Conrad, who finished second in 33:39 minutes while Rutendo Nyahora was third in 33:53.
There was a lengthy delay at the start of the race because of a safety issue, and a number of athletes complained that they were concerned about running hard, because they were not properly warmed up. They said this was why times were not as fast as had been expected.
‘It was a tough race,’said a beaming Phalula. ‘I ran with Nolene for much of the way. She pulled away from me at about eight kilometres, but I knew that I had the speed to overtake her if she was still in sight. My body was feeling good, and so I sprinted the last bit to win. I was pleased it was Nolene and not Rutendo, because I don’t think I could have passed her.’
Phalula, who won the race last year as well, said she was very happy with her win. ‘I love the Durban race, and I also love the Johannesburg one, because that’s where I have won,’she said.
Conrad was delighted with her podium finish, which was only her second. ‘It’s the first time I’ve been in contention to win,’she said.
‘We didn’t start too fast, and Lebogang and I pulled away from the pack at about 4.5kms, and then I ran away from her. But she sprinted past me, and there was nothing I could do. But I’m very happy to have finished second.’
Nyahora was also very pleased with her run. ‘Everything went according to plan. I love the course – it’s pretty flat, and really suits me.’
Phalula’s twin sister, Diana-Lebo, who won the Port Elizabeth leg of the Challenge series last month, finished in sixth position. Sisters Christine and Rene Kalmer, finished fifth and seventh respectively, while Cornelia Joubert came fourth.
Former Grand Prix winner Irvette van Zyl, who is expecting a baby in September, delighted everyone by coming ninth – her second top 10 finish this year.
There have been three different winners for each of the Spar races this year, with Mapaseka Makhanya winning in Cape Town. Makhanya finished 19th in Durban on Sunday. She said she had an Achilles injury, and had only run the race because she wanted to earn Grand Prix points.
With different winners and podium finishers in the three races run so far, the battle for top spot on the Grand Prix ladder is still wide open. The next Challenge race is in Pretoria on 29 August. The final race will be in Johannesburg in October.
1 Lebogang Phalula 33:36, 2 Nolene Conrad 33:39, 3 Rutendo Nyahora 33:53, 4 Cornelia Joubert 34:04, 5 Christine Kalmer 34:29, 6 Diana Lebo Phalula 34:48, 7 Rene Kalmer 34:51, 8 Nicole Van Der Merwe 34:52, 9 Irvette 34:56, 10 Tanith Maxwell 35:29
Female Senior: 1 Lebogang Phalula 33:36, 2 Nolene Conrad 33:39, 3 Rutendo Nyahora 33:53
Female Junior (15 19 Age Group): 8 Nicole Van Der Merwe 34:52, 25 Simonay Weitsz 37:49, 27 Nomcebo Mtshali 38:05
Female (35 39 Age Group): 10 Tanith Maxwell 35:29, 14 Bulelwa Simae 36:09, 48 Nonsikelelo Mbambo 41:22
Female (40 49 Age Group): 31 Janene Carey 38:39, 38 Karen Sobrino 40:12, 49 Ronel Thomas 41:25
Female (50 59 Age Group): 35 Judy Bird 39:23, 73 Ansie Breytenbaci 44:21, 84 Janine Engels 45:33
Female (60+ Age Group): 60 Margie Saunders 43:07, 122 Sonja Laxton 48:46, 139 Sandy Fismer 50:01