HELALIA Johannes's preparations for next month's IAAF World Championships are going along splendidly after she won a fourth successive Spar Women's 10km challenge on Saturday in a record time of 32 minutes and 29 seconds in Centurion, South Africa.
She led from start to finish to win the Tshwane race at Supersport Park on Saturday afternoon, with Ethiopian Tadu Nare coming second in 34,19, and Rutendo Nyahora of Zimbabwe third in 34,40.
Last year's winner and defending Grand Prix champion, Glenrose Xaba (Boxer GN) finished in fifth place in 35,39.
Johannes was fresh from coming second in the Bogota half-marathon in Colombia, which was run at an altitude of 2 700 metres. She said she was excited about her last two seasons of running, because she was doing better than ever before.
Johannes shot into the lead from the start, and the chasing pack were not able to reel her in.
"My coach told me not to worry about anyone else, but to run my own race. I was feeling good, and I am happy with my performance," said Johannes.
She confirmed that she will run in the Pietermaritzburg Spar Challenge later this month, but said she took things from day to day, and could not commit herself at this stage to running in the last race in Johannesburg during October.
"I am training for the world marathon championships, and they are just before the Jo'burg race, so I will have to see how I feel."
Nare, who won the South African half-marathon in Port Elizabeth last weekend, said her legs were still tired after the half- marathon, but she was delighted to have finished second.
"I love the Pretoria race," said Nyahora.
"I think it's my favourite race, and I was very happy to get a podium finish. I have had some health issues, but I am feeling stronger now."
Former Grand Prix winner Kesa Molotsane, who finished eighth, said the presence of the international athletes in the Spar Challenge series was good for running in South Africa.
"They are spurring us on to faster times, and they are making it very exciting for us. I think it's good that different people are getting onto the podium in each race," she added.
A total of 4 940 people took part in the 10km challenge and the 5km fun run.
Read the original article on Namibian.
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