There will be a strong international flavour at the SPAR Women’s 10km Grand Prix race in Gqeberha on Saturday.
The six-race series, with generous prize money for each race, as well as a substantial prize for the overall winner of the SPAR Grand Prix has become a pan-African event, attracting top runners from a number of African countries. In addition to the 2019 and 2021 SPAR Grand Prix winners, Helalia Johannes of Namibia and Tadu Nare of Ethiopia, runners from Egypt, Zimbabwe and Lesotho will be taking part.
The exposure to top runners from elsewhere in Africa has done wonders for South African runners, who are posting faster times than before.
There is a full international athletics calendar this year, with the African championships in Mauritius in June, the Commonwealth Games Birmingham, United Kingdom in July and August and the World Athletics Championships in Eugene, Oregon later in August. This means that some runners will miss some of the SPAR races, as they focus on preparing for international events.
After consultation with her management team, the 2018 SPAR Grand Prix winner, Glenrose Xaba of Boxer, will run three races at most, as she concentrates on these events as well as the world half marathon championships in November.
Although Xaba will miss the race in Gqeberha on Saturday, a number of former SPAR Grand Prix winners will be competing, including three-times winners Irvette van Zyl (Nedbank) and Rene Kalmer (Murray & Roberts); Kesa Molotsane (Murray & Roberts), who won in 2017, and the Phalula twins, Diana-Lebo and Lebogang (Boxer). Other runners to look out for include Cian Oldknow and Tayla Kavanagh (Murray & Roberts) and Cacisile Sosibo, who will spearhead the Boxer team.
The race will be run at the Nelson Mandela University on Saturday morning over two 5km laps. Spectators will be allowed. However, the races will be live-streamed on the SPAR Grand Prix Series Facebook Page: SPAR Grand Prix Series | Facebook and runners can be tracked live using the SPORTSPLITS App.
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
Attached please find free to use pictures with captions below.
Glenrose Xaba and Caster Semenya1: 2018 SPAR Grand Prix winner, Glenrose Xaba (Boxer) and her coach, Caster Semenya confirm that Xaba will miss the opening race of the 2022 SPAR Grand Prix series taking place this Saturday, 28th of May 2022 in Gqeberha. Picture credit: BLD Communications
Glenrose Xaba: Glenrose Xaba (Boxer) who finished third overall in the 2021 SPAR Grand Prix series will miss the opening race taking place this Saturday, 28th of May 2022 in Gqeberha. Pitcure Credit: Rogan Ward
Cian Oldknow1: Cian Oldknow (Murray & Roberts) is favourite South African runner going into this Saturday’s 2022 SPAR Grand Prix series opening 10km race in Gqeberha. Picture Credit: Carl Fourie
Kesa Molotsane: Kesa Molotsane (Murray and Roberts) was the highest placed South African in the 2021 SPAR Grand Prix series. Molotsane who finished second behind Tadu Nare (Nedbank) has confirmed her participation in the 2022 SPAR Grand Prix series. Photo Credit: Carl Fourie