Olympian Van Zyl victorious in Women's Challenge | SASCOC - SASCOC

Olympian Van Zyl victorious in Women’s Challenge

Irvette van Zyl romped to victory in the SPAR Women’s 10km Challenge at Old Parktonians in Randburg in 34min 34sec minutes on Sunday.

London Olympic marathoner Van Zyl, who married Olympic 400-metre hurdler LJ van Zyl just two weeks ago, said she had found the race quite hard going, so she was delighted with her first win of the 2012 Challenge season. ÔÇ£I decided that I was just going to run my own race,ÔÇØ she said.

ÔÇ£I have just recovered from an Achilles tendon injury I picked up at the Olympic Games, so I was surprised when I went into the lead so early. I had planned to see where I was at the 5km mark, and then try to win it from there. But as it turned out, I was able to just keep running at my own pace and win.ÔÇØ She said she had been aiming for a 36-minute finish, so was very happy with her time.

ÔÇ£I’m getting bored with second place,ÔÇØ laughed Zimbabwean Rutendo Nyahora, who finished second in 35:34 minutes. She also came second in the Port Elizabeth, Durban and Pretoria races. ÔÇ£I ran two hard races last weekend, so my legs were very stiff today,ÔÇØ she said.

Diana-Lebo Phalula, who finished third in 35:43 minutes said she was pleased with her position in the race, because she was not in very good shape at the moment.  She said she intended to turn her attention to track racing in 2013, and was preparing to run the steeplechase.

Van Zyl’s victory means she has finished second in the Grand Prix, behind Rene Kalmer, who won the first four Challenge races. On this occasion it was Kalmer who battled with Achilles problems and she pulled out of the race at the last minute.

ÔÇ£I came from fourth to second in the Grand Prix, so I’m very pleased about that,ÔÇØ said Van Zyl, who won the Grand Prix in 2010 and 2011.

Evergreen Sonja Laxton completed her 76th Challenge race in 46.23 minutes to win the Grandmasters category while Olympic bronze medal winning canoeist Bridgitte Hartley was part of a celebrity relay team that completed the Challenge, along with Nicole Flint and Romy Titus.

A record number of 12 306 runners took part in the race, on a cool, overcast morning. The designated race charity, Reach for Recovery, was presented with a cheque for R50 000. Reach for Recovery is a support group for women with breast cancer.

1. Irvette van Zyl (Nedbank CGA) 34.34; 2. Rutendo Nyahora (Nedbank GN) 35.34; 3. Diana-Lebo Phalula (Mr Price CGA) 35.43; 4. Zintle Xiniwe (Mr Price WP) 35.50; 5. Christine Kalmer (Nedbank CGA) 36.15; 6. Nolene Conrand (UJ) 36.33; 7. Kim Laxton (Sunninghill) 36.42; 8. Eunice Muchizi (Art of Running) 37.11; 9. Cornelia Joubert (Nedbank CGA) 37.31; 10. Mpho Mabuza (Bonitas) 37.47

Juniors : (15-19 years)
1. Sylvia Tshetlanyane 39.17; 2. Zandile Hadebe 39.39; 3. Puseletso Dieta 40.28

Veterans: (40-49 years)
1. Janene Carey 39.28; 2. Paulina Nhapo 39.52; 3. Michelle Mee 41.52

Masters: (50-59 years)
1. Sandra Steenkamp 45.34; 2. Frances van Blerk 47.12; 3. Janine Engels 47.23

Grandmasters (60+)
1. Sonja Laxton 46.23; 2. Annatjie Greyvenstein 52.51; 3. Rosina Sebati 57.28

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