Although the Kovsies student, Kesa Molotsane was beaten by Irvette van Zyl at the last of six of the Spar Ladies 10km Grand Prix series races in Johannesburg on Sunday, Molotsane’s consistency throughout the series was good enough to earn the Bloemfontein long distance star the overall series title.
Van Zyl raced to victory on Sunday in a decent inland time of 35:08 to leave Molotsane (35:27) behind by quite a margin. But, Molotsane held onto second spot comfortably and that was all the Kovsie needed to secure the overall Grand Prix victory and a winning purse of R173 000,00. Nolene Conrad (36:39) finished third on Sunday, but the proverbial light years behind Van Zyl and Molotsane.
Van Zyl took second place in the overall series and Conrad pocketed the third position cheque.
What was remarkable of the Grand Prix overall title Molotsane claimed, was that she never finished lower down on the podium than the second step at all of the six races of the series.
The Grand Prix kicked off in Cape Town (2 April) where Molotsane already made it clear that she was going full out for the crown. She beat Van Zyl into second place and it was already hinted that the overall title will be fought out between these two stars.
In a carbon copy affair at the second leg in Port Elizabeth (6 May), Molotsane reigned supreme once more and Van Zyl had to settle for second, again.
The third leg was staged in Durban (11 June) and the surprise visitor from Britain, Trish Jones spoiled the party for a possible South African win, but Molotsane’s consistency was always intact. She finished second and this is where the cookie crumbled for a possible series crown for Van Zyl. She failed to complete the Durban race and not earning any placing points on the day, gave Molotsane a huge advantage.
Van Zyl however came back with a vengeance in Pretoria (4th leg, 5 August) to beat Molotsane this time around. But, Molotsane hung in for dear life to finish second once again.
At the second last leg in Pietermaritzburg (20 August), Molotsane had to see off the Zimbabwean, Rutendo Nyahora to claim victory and the overall Grand Prix title was basically sealed for the Free Stater. Van Zyl had to settle for third this time around.
Molotsane spoke to Courant after her Grand Prix title: “It has been a challenging journey for me as a first-time Grand Prix runner because I had to work extra hard to keep a balance between the different disciplines (track, cross country and road running)”.
She added: “I had a very long and strenuous season, but the Spar Grand Prix series kept me on my toes. I used it as motivation, even though it wasn’t as easy to stay focused throughout the season. I used the series as constant motivation all year round. I am glad it is over. Tannie Sarina (Cronjé, coach) and I can go back to the drawing board now and try putting up a solid plan for the next season”. – RUFUS BOTHA