Van Blerk wins Durban SPAR Women's 10km
Durban: Close to 13 500 festive women, and a few hundred supportive men, took to the start at the Durban SPAR Women’s 10 / 5km event with Gauteng’s Irvette van Blerk (Nedbank) triumphantly steaming ahead to win the 2010 event in 33:45, taking home prize money of R10 000.
Van Blerk won today’s race on the back of winning the Pretoria SPAR Women’s yesterday 34:26 and today’s win will add another 20 points to her Grand Prix log. The pressure was last year’s winner Rene Kalmer, who came tenth today. She needed to finish in the top ten to continue her prospects of winning the Grand Prix.
Western Province’s Zintle Xiniwe (Nedbank) came second in 34:48 and Gauteng’s Poppy Mlambo third in 35:06.
After a half an hour delay, runners were given their starters orders and a sea of pink T-shirts flooded the streets. Under cloudy and breezy conditions, runners took to the fast flat course that started and finished at the People’s Park at Moses Mabhida Stadium. Rene Kalmer and Irvette van Blerk led the field from the start completing the first kilometer in 3:11.
After two kilometres, Kalmer was slightly in the lead followed by Van Blerk with Zintle Xiniwe hot on her tail with the diminutive frame of Nedbank’s Poppy Mlambo in fourth position.
The lead pack set a great pace as they headed towards the sea before turning right towards the CBD. Kalmer, on the back of a disappointing finish at the Pretoria SPAR race yesterday, dropped back dramatically with van Blerk and Xiniwe commanding the front.
At the four kilometre mark the front of the race was dominated by Nedbank runners with van Blerk and Xiniwe side by side, exactly as they had done at the SA Champs in Paarl a couple of weeks ago. The defending champion subsequently dropped down to fifth position.
At the half way stage the runners looked to challenge the record for the Durban event. Van Blerk made her first move with a 2 to 3 metre gap opening up between her and Xiniwe with the next kilometre being run in 3:28. Van Blerk looked very strong was driving her way to the finish, and Kalmer continued to drop down the ladder to sixth position.
Through the six kilometres mark Van Blerk’s time was 20:11 and she powered her way down towards Durban Station on NMR/ Masabalala Yengwa Ave. The lead was 40 metres over Xiniwe.
At seven kilometres Van Blerk left the Kingsmead Office Park looking strong, and the gap continued to open up between her and Xiniwe. She took the honours comfortably in a sub 34.
An exhausted and visibly pleased van Blerk said “I am really glad I won, I never expected to win the Durban race after having run at 2pm yesterday with little recovery time. It was a tough race, and hot. The first 5km was easy, then I turned into the wind and it was like running uphill.”
Neil Westerhof, SPAR KZN Marketing Director said “It was really thrilling to see so many women and young girls taking part in this event. The field was celebratory and festive and packed with laughter and good fun.”
Fit women have a busy patch at the moment with the next SPAR Women’s 10/5km taking place next weekend (Sept 5) in Pietermaritzburg.
Official results: (Temp – no club indicated)
Irvette van Blerk (Nedbank) 33:45
Zintle Xiniwe (Nedbank) 34:48
Poppy Mlambo (Nedbank) 35:06
Annerien van Schalwyk (Nedbank) 35:12
Tebogo Masehla (Transnet) 35:42
Mpho Mabuza (Nedbank) 35:48
Thozama April (Transnet) 36:31
Marelise Retief (Nedbank) 36:51
Christina Kalmer (Nedbank) 36:55
Rene Kalmer (Nedbank) 37:03
Nandipha Dywli (Mr Price) 37:06
Avela Nkweba (Temp) 38:09
Mpumelelo Mnyandu (Temp) 38:48
Ronel Thomas (Boxer) 27:47
Janene Carey (Boxer) 39:23
Hleziphi Ncayiyana (Temp) 43:22
Tessa Burrell (Gauteng Striders) 38:19
Maya Lawrie (Boxer) 38:21
Grace de Oliveira (Boxer) 39:12
Olga Howard (Celtics) 44:35
Debby de Koning (Eskom) 47:39
June Watson (PDAC) 48:37
Lien Botha (Toti) 48:39
Gill Tregenna (West) 54:09
Aletta Englebrecht (Temp) 55: 05