Twenty-year-old Ethiopian runner Tadu Nare (Nedbank) has all but clinched the 2021 SPAR Grand Prix title after winning her fifth consecutive SPAR Grand Prix race at Marks Park on Sunday,
Nare won the Joburg SPAR Grand Prix 10 km race in 33.20 minutes. She now has a total of 125 points, 18 ahead of her nearest rival, former title holder Kesa Molotsane (Murray & Roberts), who came second on Sunday. Molotsane’s second place helped her to leapfrog Fortunate Chidzivo (Retail Capital), who finished in eighth position on Sunday. Chidzivo has 102 points. Her third place is testament to the value of consistent performances and of competing in as many races as possible. Chidzivo came fifth in Pietermaritzburg, fourth in Cape Town, fifth in Durban, sixth in Tshwane and eighth in Johannesburg, showing it is not necessary to have a podium finish to do well in the SPAR Grand Prix series. Molotsane has two second place finishes – Cape Town and Joburg – and was fourth in Pietermaritzburg, 10th in Durban and fifth in Tshwane.
Cian Oldknow (Murray & Roberts) is in fourth position, with 97 points. She came third in Cape Town and has finished in a top 10 position in all five races so far.
Glenrose Xaba (Boxer) has three second place finishes, but is still trying to make up lost ground after missing the Cape Town race because of a knee injury. She came fourth on Sunday and has a total of 94 points.
Three times SPAR Grand winner Irvette van Zyl (Nedbank) is in joint 15th position with 45 points. She missed the first three races because of a traumatic stress fracture just before the women’s marathon at the Tokyo Olympics. For Van Zyl, it is not a question of winning the SPAR Grand Prix, but of taking part.
“The SPAR races have been an important part of my mental recovery from the trauma of Tokyo,” she said. “I am using the races as training sessions but I am just very happy to be running again, pain free. The fitness will come and I am working on my mental health,” said Van Zyl.
With two wins to her name, Naledi Makgatha, leads the junior category with 10 points. Leah Edwards (Kearsney) and Kara Ribbink (Murray & Roberts) are in joint second place, with seven points each.
Janie Grundling (Murray & Roberts) has overtaken teammate Charne Bosman in the 40-49 category. Grundling finished second to Bosman in the first five races, but overtook the Comrades Marathon winner when Bosman did not take part in Johannesburg. Grundling has 21 points and Bosman has 20.
The leader in the 50-59 category is Elmarie Pretorius (Run/Walk for Life), with 23 points, just ahead of Shani Silver (Boxer) who has 22.
Having won every race, Judy Bird (Murray & Roberts) is in an unassailable position in the 60-69 category, with 25 points. Her nearest rival is Karen Brough (Murray & Roberts) who has 19 points.
Murray & Roberts appear to have the team competition sewn up, largely because of their dominance in the 40-49 and 60-69 categories. They have 612 points from 28 scorers. Nedbank have 500 from 14 scorers. Boxer are in third place, with 304 points from six scorers.