Van Zyl in early Mother's Day celebration with PE victory | SASCOC - SASCOC
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Van Zyl in early Mother’s Day celebration with PE victory

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Two weeks after finishing 15th in the London Marathon, Irvette van Zyl notched up her second consecutive SPAR Women’s 10km Challenge victory when she braved wet and windy conditions to win the Port Elizabeth leg at Pollok Beach in 33.28 minutes on Saturday.
The Phalula twins, Lebogang and Diana-Lebo, were second and third, in 34min 09sec and 34.10 minutes respectively.
Van Zyl, who won the Cape Town race in April, led from the start.  She and the Phalula girls broke away at about three kilometres and Van Zyl opened up a sizeable gap between six and seven kilometres.
‘I wanted to run behind someone else because it was so windy, but it was very pedestrian at the start, with no-one willing to take the lead.  So the twins and I went ahead and we ran together for quite a long way,’ said Van Zyl.
‘There was a bit of an uphill between six and seven kilometres and I was able to break away then. At that stage, the wind was coming from the side, so it wasn’t too bad.  The last two kilometres, along the beachfront, were tough because the wind was in your face. I was a bit worried, but then I realised that everyone would have the same problem.
‘I was so happy to win in Port Elizabeth, I’ve always hated the PE race because I’ve never been able to win here before. I almost felt like crying when I crossed the finish line, because it was like a dream come true,’ said Van Zyl.
Van Zyl said she had taken things easy after the London Marathon, so she didn’t really feel the effect of the marathon in her legs. ‘I’m running well at the moment because I’m a mother,’ she laughed.
‘Louis is eight months old today, and LJ (her husband, 400m hurdler) and I are very happy and relaxed.  I think we are in a better routine because of the baby.  My focus is also different – I am not planning ahead for the whole year, I just set my goals for the next month or so.
‘Irvette was just too fast for us,’ said Lebogang Phalula.  ‘Lebo and I ran with her for a while, but she got away from us on the hill. ‘
Phalula said she had not allowed the weather to affect her enjoyment of the race.
‘I wanted to enjoy the race, and I did.  Lebo gave me the race at the end – we ran together all the way. I felt better today than I did in Cape Town, when I had competed in the South African championships the day before.’
Diana-Lebo Phalula qualified for the Olympic Games Marathon in the Netherlands two weeks ago, and Lebogang said she would be travelling to Europe to try to qualify for the Rio Games in the 5000m.
The first three juniors home, Simonay Weitsz, Nicole van der Merwe and Ashleigh Simonis are all part of the SPAR Grand Prix mentorship programme, with SPAR Grand Prix winners lending a guiding hand.
Meanwhile, the queen of road running in South Africa, Sonja Laxton, made history when she ran her 90th Challenge race.

Irvette Van Zyl (winner) leading at the SPAR Women’s 10km Challenge, followed by Lebo-Diana Phalula (third place) and Lebogang Phalula (second). Picture courtesy of  

RESULTS
Open Category: 1-Irvette Van Zyl (Nedbank) 33.28; 2-Lebogang Phalula (Boxer) 34.09; 3-Diana-lebo Phalula (Boxer) 34.10; 4-Onneile Dintwe (Nedbank) 34.32; 5-Rutendo Nyahora (Nedbank) 34.55; 6-Nolene Conrad (KPMG) 35.02; 7-Cornelia Joubert (Boxer) 35.06; 8-Christine Kalmer (KPMG) 35.51; 9-Maphaseka Makhanya (TEMP) 35.51; 10-Fortunate Chidzivo (Nedank) 36.04
Junior Category: 1-Simonay Weitsz (KPMG) 36.31; 2-Nicole Van De Merwe (KPMG) 37.32; 3-Ashleigh Simmons (Natal Carbineer) 38.07
35-39 Years Category: 1-Jani Grundlingh (Boxer) 36.18; 2-Terri-lynn (Penney) 44.31; 3-Kristen Reen (Temp) 46.42
40-49 Years Category: 1-Janene Carey (Boxer) 40.27; 2-Davera Magson (Nedbank) 41.17; 3-Ronel Thomas (Boxer) 44.13
50-59 Years Category: 1-Judy Bird (Midrand Strider) 41.02; 2-Christine Claasen (Achillies AAA) 45.12; 3-Janette Schierz-crusius (Body Concept) 46.13
60-69 Years Category: 1-Margie Saunders (Nedbank) 43.11; 2-Hanlie Van Der Westhuizen (Despatch) 48.13; 3-Sonja Laxton (Temp) 49.43
70+ Years Category: 1-Ronelle Steyn (Nedbank) 1.05.29; 2-Vicky Ashley (Nedbank) 1.10.24; 3-Orgia Nell (Muirite Straider) 1.13.53


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