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Nyahora pips Phalula to take Challenge honours in Pretoria
- Updated: September 4, 2016
After a race in which the lead changed hands several times, Rutendo Nyahora (Nedbank) stormed to the front to win the SPAR Women’s 10km Challenge at Supersport Park in Centurion for the second year in a row.
The Zimbabwean finished in 35min 25sec and was followed by Diana-Lebo Phalula (Boxer), in 35:40. Newcomer Glenrose Xaba (Eskom) was third in 36:16 minutes, while Phalula’s twin sister and teammate, Lebogang, finished fourth, in 36:32.
Nyahora got off to a good start and took the early lead, before she was passed by former Pretoria champion Mapaseka Makhanya (Olifants) and Phalula. Makhanya led for much of the way, until Phalula and Nyahora went into the lead, leaving the rest of the front runners well behind. At about seven kilometres, Nyahora surged into the lead and stayed there until the finish line.
Xaba stayed close to the front-runners for most of the race, and passed more experienced roadrunners to claim the third place.
‘I am so happy to have defended my title,’ said a beaming Nyahora.
‘At one stage, Mapaseka and (Diana) Lebo were fighting for position, so I just stayed behind them and waited for my chance. I know this route very well, and I knew that they would get tired, so I just waited for my chance, and when it came, I took it.’
Nyahora and Phalula both ran the Olympic marathon in Rio last month and said that being able to call themselves Olympians had helped to boost their confidence.
‘I know I have to make things happen for myself,’ said Nyahora.
Phalula said she had a very good race. ‘I was feeling very light and I wasn’t tired,’ she said.
‘Although it was hot here, it was nothing like as hot as it was in Rio. I feel different about myself now that I can call myself an Olympian. I didn’t feel any pressure and I just enjoyed the race. I came third last year, and second this year. Next year it’s my race,’ said Phalula.
Xaba, who is the South African cross-country champion, said she had not focused on the other runners, but had concentrated on maintaining her pace.
‘They got away from me at 5km, but I just carried on running my own race. I am very happy to finish third,’ said Xaba.
The junior runners who are being mentored by Grand Prix winners took the first three places in the junior race. Diana-Lebo’s protégé, Koletso Senosi was first, in 38:22 minutes, followed by Nicole van der Merwe, mentored by Irvette van Zyl, and Makhanya’s protégé, Simonay Weitz, was third.
Van Zyl, the current Grand Prix leader, is injured and did not run. But also in action was 2015 World Duathlon Championships age-group runner-up Andrea Steyn and Phalula’s fellow Olympic marathoner Christine Kalmer.
Twenty-seven-thousand competitors took part in the 10km Challenge and the 5km Fun Run.
Picture of Nyahora and Phalula courtesy of Reg Caldecott
1 Rutendo Nyahora (Nedbank), 35.25; 2 Diana-Lebo Phalula (Boxer) 35.40; 3 Glenrose Xaba (Eskom) 36.16; 4 Lebogang Phalula (Boxer) 36.32; 5 Mapaseka Makhanya (Olifants) 36.39; 6 Andrea Steyn (The Bicycle Company) 36.51; 7 Christine Kalmer (KPMG) 37.12; 8 Fortunate Chidzivo (Nedbank) 37.16; 9 Mariliese Retief (Boxer) 37.38; 10 Jenna Challenor (KPMG) 37.47
40-49: 1 Ulrica Stander 40.13; 2 Ronel Thomas 40.41; 3 Janene Carey 41.02
50-59: 1 Judy Bird 41.133; 2 Jackie Frey 46.15; 3 Catherine Naane 47.30
60-69: 1 Francis van Blerk 50.12; 2 Blanche Moila 50.48; 3 Erica Geldenhuys 54.14
70+: 1 Annetjie Greyvenstein 60.48
Juniors: 1 Koletso Senosi 38.22; 2 Nicole van der Merwe 39.19; 3 Simonay Weitz 38.54