Another record victory for Helalia Johannes

18 August 2019

Namibian sensation Helalia Johannes (Nedbank) put on another superhuman performance to win her fifth consecutive SPAR Women’s 10 km Challenge on Sunday when she won the Maritzburg Challenge in the record time of 32.23 minutes.  Johannes has broken the record in all five races.

Ethiopian junior Tadu Nare (Nedbank) was second in 33.06 and last year’s SPAR Grand Prix winner, Glenrose Xaba (Boxer) finished third in 33.41.

Johannes and Nare shot into the lead from the start, with Xaba tucked in behind them.  Xaba dropped back after the third kilometre, but Nare ran with Johannes until about five kilometres, when Johannes stepped up the pace, leaving Nare behind.

There was something of a tussle for third place between Xaba and the 2017 SPAR Grand Prix winner, Kesa Molotsane (Murray & Roberts), but it was Xaba who prevailed.

Last year, Xaba and Molotsane were among a small group of runners who followed the wrong route and were disqualified, but there were no problems this time.

The first eight runners all beat last year’s winning time of 34.26, giving them all valuable SPAR Grand Prix bonus points.

Johannes said after the race that she had a persistent headache, so she was very happy to have done so well.

“It was tough at the start, but the hills didn’t affect me, as I train in hilly terrain,” said Johannes.

“The weather was perfect for running, as it was quite cool.”

Johannes said she was training for the World Marathon championship in Doha in late September and would have to see how she felt after the race before deciding whether to run the Joburg SPAR Challenge on October 6.

Xaba said she had wanted to stick as close to Johannes and Nare as possible.  

“I have had a lot of injuries this year, but now I am fully fit, so I was happy with my run,” said Xaba.

“I was trying to earn bonus points, so I am very pleased to have done that.”

She said her next outing would be a 21km race in Argentina later this month and she was hoping to qualify for the World half marathon championship in March next year.

Triple SPAR Grand Prix winner Irvette van Zyl (Nedbank), who missed the Tshwane race because she was recovering from surgery to repair nerve damage in her left leg, said she was relieved to have put in a strong performance, finishing seventh in 34.21 minutes.

“I was running against myself, trying to see how my leg would respond.  Last year I won this race in 34.26 minutes, 10 weeks after having my second baby, and this year I finished in 34.21 seven weeks after surgery,” said Van Zyl.

“I still have a lot of rehab to do, but things are looking good.”