Nedbank running club looking to dominate in Durban
June 23, 2022  

After a complete podium domination in the opening leg of the 2022 Spar Women’s 10km Grand Prix Series in Gqeberha last month, the Nedbank running club will be looking for a repeat, as the team heads down to Durban for this Sunday’s 2nd leg of the series.

It was a fast race in Gqeberha and if form is anything to go by, the Durban event will be even faster. After taking victory in the opening leg in a time of 31:53, Helalia Johannes set what was at the time thought to be a new world record for veterans, only to then find out Australia’s Lisa Weightman had run 31:20 a few weeks earlier. Johannes however turned the tables when earlier this month she finished 2nd in the Nelson Mandela Bay Half Marathon running a new Namibian national record of 1:07:49 and taking 59 seconds off the veteran’s world record of 1:08:48 which was held by Weightman. 

Joining Johannes in Durban will be teammates Tadu Nare and Selam Gebre who were 2nd and 3rd in the opening leg with Gebre only 17 years old and taking the first junior title in the process. Nare is the defending Grand Prix series champion and just like young Gebre, started her international running career as a junior in the Spar Grand Prix series which was at the time won by Johannes before Covid19 swept in and the event was missed in 2020. 

In form Irvette van Zyl who is coached by Nedbank running club National team manager Nick Bester also returns to Durban after a quick 1:11:19 earlier this month in Gqeberha. With a personal best of 32:06 which was run in Durban, van Zyl will be looking at a quick run. “I ran my 3rd fastest ever half marathon earlier this month and the focus right now is getting my 10km time quicker before aiming for a fast marathon towards the end of the year,” said van Zyl. 

Stella Marais who has also been having a cracking season setting personal bests literally each time she laces up her Nike racing flats, comes into this weekend’s race looking to improve on her 34:22 which was run in Durban in October last year. 

With a fast and flat course around the Durban sporting precinct and beachfront, race director Brad Glasspoole is confident of some records being set. The race is all at sea level, with the highest elevation nine meters,” he explained. “It’s an ideal route for in-form runners to break records.”

The race starts and ends in Battery Road, outside Kings Park swimming pool and is one of the few races in South Africa to finish on the road rather than in a stadium.  The athletes will line up facing the famous Moses Mabhida Stadium. The first 5kms take the runners on a circuit around Kingsmead Cricket Ground while the second 5kms takes them along Durban’s famous beach front, finishing in front of Kings Park swimming pool.

Johannes holds the quickest Spar ladies 10km series time with her 30:59 being run in 2019, also in Durban. There is no doubt that this weekend’s event will be a fast one, and one where we could see Johannes set a new veterans world record. The 41-year-old is in shape and will be hard to beat. 

2022 SPAR GRAND PRIX CALENDAR
Saturday, May 28 - Gqeberha
Sunday, June 26 - Durban
Saturday, July 16 - Mbombela
Saturday, August 6 - Tshwane
Sunday, October 2 - Johannesburg 
Sunday, October 23 - Cape Town