Nedbank running club Ethiopia’s Tadu Nare arrives in Durban tomorrow with her name on the top of the Spar Grand Prix series table with nobody looking like they can stop the tiny athlete who proves the point that dynamite comes in small packages.
With 2 out of 2 victories coming from Pietermaritzburg and this past weekend in Cape Town, Nare has set off from the front unchallenged in both, recently setting the 6th fastest 10km ever on South African soil with her 31:28 clocking that saw her finish almost 3 minutes ahead of the 2nd placed finisher. Defending series champion and Nedbank RC teammate Helalia Johannes was set for a return to the series this weekend in Durban however a small injury has prevented the Namibian International superstar from competing.
“I am really disappointed that I won’t be in action in Durban,” said Johannes from Namibia. “The Durban race is my favourite of them all and its where I set my national record.” That time of 30:58 was the fastest time set on South African soil and considered World class at the highest level. A hamstring niggle has prevented Johannes from returning to Durban. “Since the Olympics where I competed in the marathon, I have struggled a bit with my recovery and this week I hurt my hamstring doing speed. I am hoping that I can recover quickly so I can at least run some of the series.”
Johannes was untouchable in that Spar Grand Prix, winning all 6 races and smashing all 6 course records in the process. Nare has now taken over that with 2 wins so far with quick times. “It makes me really happy to see Tadu running quick, especially because she is my Nedbank teammate so that makes me happy.”
Nare will be joined by a host of Nedbank running club teammates, such as Anel Terblanche, Chrizell Roberts, Rudo Mhonderwa, Patience Murowe and Stella Marais, the latter two recording top 10 finishes in the previous two Spar Grand Prix races.
Also making a welcome return to the series will be Olympians Gerda Steyn and Irvette Van Zyl. With many Spar ladies race victories to her name, Van Zyl is recovering from a tough Olympic Games Marathon where she battled with injury. Whilst fiercely competitive, Van Zyl is using the Durban event just to get back out onto the road and will not be looking to challenge the leaders.
Steyn jets in via Dubai where she is based and would have been in Spar Cape Town, but visa issues and renewal of her passport delayed her from coming back to the country. “It has been some frantic packing and a quick covid test but I’m so excited to be in Durban with great running weather and of course the world’s number 1 running community,” said Steyn. Steyn has had a phenomenal year, breaking the long standing South Africa marathon record as well as 15th in the Olympic Games Marathon.
The Spar Ladies 10km Durban takes place on Saturday morning and follows strict Covid protocols. No spectators will be allowed.