Kesa Molostane from Bloemfontein couldn’t have asked for a better start to her Spar Women’s 10km Challenge title defense, by winning the first two events of the series.
On Saturday Molotsane won the Port Elizabeth leg of the series in 33.46 minutes. This despite the 10 000-m silver medalist at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics, Elana Meyer, predicating that there could be an upset on the cards at Pollok Beach in the Friendly City.
The lady Meyer tipped to beat Molotsane, Glenrose Xaba, had to settle for second in a time of 34.01 minutes, some 15 seconds ahead of the Zimbabwean runner, Patience Murowe, who in her turn, crossed the line in 34.16.
Molostane had stated that the event in Port Elizabeth is her favourite on the circuit and the runners could not have asked for better conditions on Saturday morning. The light breeze even made it so much better to run.
Cornelia Joubert and Christine Kalmer (sister of the legendary Rene Kalmer) led the race for the first couple of kilometres. The lead pack did start thinning out after about 5 km, and this included Joubert slipping out of contention.
Xaba surged at 6 kms, taking six runners with her, but at 7 kms it was Molotsane, famed for her kick, who charged into the lead.
Molotsane, with her easy running style, was just too good and Xaba dropped back, leaving a smiling Molotsane to cross the finish line alone.
“Yesterday, I wasn’t sure whether I was going to be able to run because of a technical issue, so I wasn’t in the right frame of mind,” Molotsane said after her win.
“I couldn’t run according to my original plan, and it was only at about 5 kms that I really felt I was in the race. But I’m a fighter and at 7 kms, I felt I had to go for it. I am very happy to have won.”
Xaba, who also finished second to Molostane in Cape Town Challenge in March, conceded that it was touch-and-go as to whether or not she would be able to compete due to a hamstring niggle.
“Luckily, I was able to take part. At one stage, I was leading, but at 8 kms I felt I had to slow down. I enjoyed running alongside Kesa. She is a challenging runner.”
Molotsane added that she wasn’t sure whether she would be able to run all of the remaining four Challenge races.
Molotsane, added that she wasn’t sure whether she would be able to run all of the remaining four Challenge races.
“I am having to juggle my track running, cross-country and Spar races. I am trying to qualify to run the 5000 m at the African Championships, so I may have to miss some of the Grand Prix races.
“At this stage, I still want to do all three disciplines, although I will eventually have to decide on one.”
Results: 1 Kesa Molotsane 33.46; 2 Glenrose Xaba 34.01; 3 Patience Murowe 34.16; 4 Rudo Mhonderwa 34.21; 5 Zintle Xiniwe 34.23; 6 Christine Kalmer 34.24; 7 Lebogang Phalula 34.38; 8 Cornelia Joubert 34.49; 9 Ntombesintu Mfunzi 34.54; 10 Cherise Sims 34.59. – MORGAN PIEK