As predicted, Chabeli Nyedimane and Paulina Njeya both scored victories on Saturday at the last of the six-event Castle Lite trail run series in the open categories for men and women respectively.
In the process they were crowned Castle Lite series champions, this after Njeya didn’t miss out on a victory at all six series races in the mentioned category.
The only time Nyedimane failed to win, was during the first event in the series which took place at Wild Olive Estate.
The last meeting was also staged at Wild Olive and the route (10km) was much more tricky and difficult than when the series kicked off on 18 June. After the first five kilometres, it seemed like Nyedimane was on his way to missing out on a win in the series finale.
He came past in only fifth position with Pitso Meko leading the race and he was meaning business.
At the seven-kilometre mark, it became evident that Nyedimane was in cruising mode and released the hand brake from thereon. Although he was still biding his time and planned his tactics to perfection, he just made sure to cross the line in first place in 44:32.
He was a mere six seconds ahead of the fighting Meko, who clocked 44:38. The prize money for the third athlete in the open section for men went to Daniël Mohape. Mohape was, however, not third overall as the veteran athlete. Sampi Morapedi beat him to the line but had to settle for the first prize in the veteran section for men.
Courant spoke to Nyedimane after his victory to establish why he left it so late: “I took the race very easy and I knew I could still win if I employ my tactics correctly. The reason I did not want to push myself is the fact that I will be competing in the Hero’s marathon (42,2km) in Umtata next week. This is one of the biggest marathons in the country.”
Njeya was crowned Castle Lite series champion following her victories at all six series races in the open category for women. She clocked 56:24.
But… she must have been surprised like never before in her illustrous distance running career.
The skinny 17-year-old Tyler Benning from the Fichardt Park High School tightened the screws from the onset and Njeya had no ammunition to counter Benning’s consistent fast running over the rough terrain.
Benning’s performance must rate as the best performance of the day. She crossed the line in a quick 53:46. Njeya (56:24) had to settle for an overall second, approximately 800m adrift.
Estie van der Merwe took honours in the veteran section for ladies. – RUFUS BOTHA