Kesa Moletsane of KPMG used her famous ‘kick’ to beat defending champion Irvette van Zyl (Nedbank) in the Port Elizabeth leg of the SPAR Women’s 10km race. Mapaseka Makhanya was third over the line.
Moletsane finished in 33.13 minutes and Van Zyl was eight seconds behind her. Makhanya finished in 33.40, six seconds ahead of Nolene Conrad.
Van Zyl started fast and stayed in the lead until the 8km mark, when Moletsane, who had been running in a group of six or seven runners, pulled away. She surged past Van Zyl and kept her lead until the end, although Van Zyl started closing in on her in the last 500 metres.
Moletsane, better known as a track athlete, said she had not planned the race in advance.
“I run my own race and when I kick, it’s because my body tells me to,” she said.
“I think I am using my strength as a track athlete well, to help me on the road. “But the roadrunners know how to approach a road race, because they are used to road conditions. I just have to do it my way, and it seems to work.
Van Zyl said she had set the pace, because no one else was prepared to.
“I was in the lead until Kesa came flying past me at 8kms,” she said.
“At that stage, I was tired and I had a sore ankle, after spraining it last week. But at 9kms, I got my second wind. I thought to myself ‘dammit, I can still run’, and I started closing the gap. I was closing in on her in the last 500m, but I couldn’t quite make it.
“Kesa is in great shape at the moment, and she has this amazing kick. I will have to try to work out how to deal with it in the next race,” said Van Zyl.
Makhanya said she had started fairly slowly, because she had gone out too fast in the Cape Town race, and had been unable to maintain the pace.
“Kesa pulled away from the group at about 6.5kms, and I couldn’t catch her,” she said.
”Most of us are now marathon runners, and Kesa is using her track speed to her advantage. I think it is good to have some new, exciting blood in the SPAR races. When I went from track to road running, that was the year I won the Grand Prix. I think Kesa is a great addition to road running,” said Makhanya.
Moletsane and Van Zyl both earned bonus Grand Prix points for finishing within the target time of 33.26 seconds.
The next SPAR Challenge is in Durban on June 11.