Zimbabwean Runner Betha Chikanda Takes Honours In Durban SPAR Women’s 10km

Durban SPAR Women’s 10/5km Challenge
Sunday June 24 2018
ZIMBABWEAN runner Betha Chikanda threw down the gauntlet from the moment the starter’s gun went off to lead from start to finish in yesterday’s 29th anniversary running of the Durban SPAR Women’s 10/5km Challenge
Finishing in 33:07, the diminutive 21 year old from Harare went out so fast from the start outside the King’s Park Athletics Stadium in Masabalala Yengwa Avenue that she left the rest of the 15-strong pack of elite runners gasping for air as Chikanda increased her lead to over 100 metres at the 2km mark which she went through in 6min 18sec.
There was to be no letting up by the Maxed runner as the scenic beachfront route took the field of 13 853 entrants in the country’s “Most Beautiful Road Race” southwards and into a slight headwind as the sun rose in the east and burnt off the patches of cloud.
The chasing pack appeared to be losing more ground as Chikanda slipped into overdrive at the 4km flag and was still forging ahead as she passed the iconic Moses Mabhida Stadium with the chasing pack dwindling in number with 3km of the race remaining which saw Glenrose Xaba, Nolene Conrad and Kesa Molotsane peeling off to mount a last gasp attack but already realising they had left themselves with too much to do and too little time left to catch the resilient Chikanda.
The Zimbabwean capped an excellent performance in her first appearance this year in the SPAR Women’s Challenge Series of six races, her winning time of 33 minutes 07 seconds averaging 3:18 for every kilometre, 20 seconds ahead of 26-year-old Glenrose Xaba of Boxer AC in Pretoria who finished in 33:27 with Western Cape runner Nolene Conrad (22, KPMG) third in 33:43 and two more Zimbabweans, Rudo Mhonderwa who was fourth in 33:53 and Rutendo Nyahora who was fifth in 34:07 making up the first five finishers.
Next came the SPAR Grand Prix leader and winner of the Cape Town and Port Elizabeth races this year, Kesa Molotsane, who surrenders her place at the top of the SPAR GP log to Xaba.
Chikanga, who came ninth in this race last year, said her coach, Martin Ngwenya, had told her to “go out strong and to go for gold”. We figured most of the elite runners would be focusing their attention on Kesa so we believed this tactic would confuse them.”
Xaba showed yet again that she has tremendous potential and is earning more and more respect from her fellow runners with each race outing coming second to Molotsane in both the Cape Town and Port Elizabeth races earlier this year.
Third-placed Conrad said, “We never expected Betha to go out so strongly but by the time we settled into the race the pack just stuck together and we let her go thinking we would catch up with her later.”
“I stuck to my own plan and tried to feed off the energy of the group and was pleased with my result.”
“By the time we passed the 7km flag I think we realised we would not catch up with her and so two or three of us broke away from the pack and fought out the finish.”
All results are on www.sparwomensrace.co.za.
Next SPAR Women’s 10/5km Challenge race for KZN is 19 August in Pietermaritzburg.
Female Senior
1 Betha Chikanga (Maxed) 33:07, 2 Glenrose Xaba (Boxer) 33:27, 3 Nolene Conrad (KPMG) 33:43, 4 Rudo Mhonderwa (Nedbank) 33:53, 5 Rutendo Nyahora (Nedbank) 34:07, 6 Kesa Molotsane (KPMG) 34:15, 7 Lebo Phalula (Boxer) 34:37, 8 Zintle Xiniwe (KPMG) 34:56, 9 Lebogang Phalula (Boxer) 34:59, 10 Cherise Sims (Boxer) 35:09
35 – 39
1 Ntombesintu Mfunzi (Nedbank) 35:47, 2 Makhosi Mhlongo 35:56, 3 Fikile Mbuthuma (Nedbank) 37:58
1 Bulelwa Simae (Nedbank) 38:16, 2 Ulrica Stander (KPMG) 38:33, 3 Ronel Thomas (Boxer) 39:38
1 Judy Bird (KPMG) 40:03, 2 Grace de Oliveira (KPMG) 42:51, 3 Kim Meyer (Rand Athletics) 43:09
1 Blanche Moila (Savages) 47:52, 2 Jenny Scott (Dolphin Coast Striders) 51:15,
3 Teresa Scott (Pinetown & Districts) 54:16
1 Gill Tregenna (Westville) 57:55, 2 Ingrid Bolt (Riverside Harriers) 1:14:05,
3 Ivy Lottering (Wings Athletics) 1:17:14
Female Junior
1 Thobile Vilakazi (KPMG) 37:33, 2 Casey Bosman (KPMG) 38:31, 3 Lyndi Roelofse (Boxer) 38:58

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