Irvette Van Zyl came out on top in a fiercely-contested 10km Totalsports Women’s Race in Durban on Sunday.
Van Zyl crossed the line in 33 minutes and 2 seconds, finishing just three seconds ahead of Lebogang Phalula.
The pair ran together for the first 8km until Van Zyl let the hammer down, and in the end finished just ahead of Phalula.
“Today’s race was close, but a win is a win,” says a very happy Van Zyl. “The Phalula sisters really caught me off guard. They are always a ‘wild card’ and know how to give you grey hairs. Their running has definitely picked up in the last six weeks.”
“The race didn’t start off too fast, giving us time to warm up,” continues Van Zyl. “The route featured quite a few turns, which broke our pace a bit. The three of us stuck together up until the 9km mark, with the Phalula’s working as a team. I broke away, not knowing whether they’d be able to follow. I am really happy with the win. My legs didn’t feel too fresh on the day, but I cannot complain considering the past week’s training sessions. The Totalsports Women’s Race really is an awesome, well managed event. The atmosphere on the day is great. By the time that the race starts you feel pumped up and excited to run.”
Lebogang secured the second spot on the podium, while her twin sister Lebo finished third.
“I really enjoyed the race,” says Lebogang. “I was injury and illness free, which meant that I could give my best. Lebo and I didn’t want Irvette to win from the start. We didn’t want this to merely be a tempo race for her. I’ve recently changed coaches and it was nice to see that all the hard work was paying off. My finishing time is faster than that of last year, so I am really happy with my performance.”
Both Van Zyl and Lebo Phalula will represent South Africa in the marathon distance at the 2016 Rio Olympics.
1 Irvette Van Zyl 33.02, 2 Lebogang Phalula 33.05, 3 Lebo Phalula 33.18, 4 Christine Kalmer 34.50, 5 Jenet Dlamini 35.01, 6 Zintle Xiniwe 35.30, 7 Janie Grundling 35.48, 8 Tanith Maxwell 36.23, 9 Makhosi Mhlongo 37.03, 10 Yolande Maclean 37.38, 11 Puseletso Dladla 38.11, 12 Sthandwa Mthimkhulu 38.21, 13 Cary-Ann Smith 38.22, 14 Zisandele Mkhize 38.28, 15 Sebrina Munsamy 38.30
– African News Agency (ANA)