ZIMBABWEAN middle and long distance runner Rutendo Nyahora continued her impressive form with a commendable second-place finish in the Spar Women’s 10km Challenge race at the Wanderers Club in Johannesburg on Sunday.
Fresh from clinching month’s Old Mutual Westgate Half Marathon title, Nyahora put on another solid display in South Africa despite a taxing road journey from Harare just a few hours before the race.
The in-form Nyahora finished the race in 34 minutes, 40 seconds (34:40) and was second, just six seconds behind, the eventual winner, South Africa’s Lebogang Phalula, who held on to clinch title in 33.34 minutes,Mamorallo Tjoka of Lesotho ended third in 34:43 while South African Irvette van Zyl was fourth, ahead of Lebo Phalula and Rene Kalmer.
Nyahora told the Sowetan that she was surprised with her top-three finish, explaining that her legs were still stiff after only arriving in Johannesburg on Friday following a 16-hour bus trip from her Harare home.
“At 6km I started pushing and I told myself I could do it. My aim was to win the race and catch this twin.”
Phalula said she was relieved to come out on top as she was wary of the challenge posed by Nyahora.
“I ran a clever race today because at the last race in Pretoria, Rutendo and Irvette caught up to me,” said Lebogang. “I told myself I’m going to go flat out at the start.”
She admitted she was feeling the effects of a half marathon the previous weekend.
“I was so tired at 7km. I just told myself ‘hang in there, Phalula, please, please’. I was talking to my ancestors and they listened to me and said ‘we’re going now’ and I just finished the race.
“She [Nyahora] almost caught me.”
Results: 1. Lebogang Phalula 34:34, 2. Rutendo Nyahora 34:40, 3. Mamorallo Tjoka 34:43, 4. Irvette van Zyl 34:58, 5. Lebo Phalula 35:21, 6. Rene Kalmer 36:02, 7. Mapaseka Makhanya 36:27, 8.
Tebogo Masehla 36:44, 9. Isabella Jepchumba 37:10, 10. Christine Kalmer 37:21