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  • Writer's pictureThathe Msimango

Tadu wins Durban Leg of SPAR Grand Prix as Xaba runs 31:57 to lead the overall standings

After missing the first leg of Spar Grand Prix in Cape Town in March, the defending Champion Tadu Nare put on a classic performance to win the Durban leg in a wonderful time of 31:14 on Sunday 23 May at the King's Park Stadium. Nare made her intentions clear from the start as she lead with the likes of Glenrose Xaba, Neheng Khatala and Blandina Makatisi sticking with the Ethiopian runner. At the 4km mark, Nare and Xaba made a break, running shoulder to shoulder till the Nedbank Running Club athlete made the decisive move at 7km and held on to her lead until the finish line.


Xaba took second place in a remarkable 31:57, as she dipped under 32 minutes for only the second time in her career as she missed her lifetime best by just 2 seconds. Lesotho international Khatala finished third in an impressive 32:14 time as the top 10 ladies all completed the 10km race in under 35 minutes. Speaking after the race, Xaba, who won the Durban Spar 10k leg last year when she ran her personal best time over the distance (31:55), agreed that the Indian Ocean city has been a good hunting ground for her adding that the good weather conditions made a massive difference.


Xaba lead the 2024 SPAR Grand Prix series after winning in Cape Town and grabbing second place in Durban. Photo Credit: Rogan Ward.

"I'm quite happy with the today's performance. As I was training towards the race, I gave it all to make sure that I run well here (Durban). I know the route here is flat and fast so from the start, you have to go hard. There is no time for mistakes. That how I approached the race today. I'm happy that I did stick with Tadu (Nare) till she broke away from me at 7km. After 6km, I started to feel a bit of back pain then I told myself, let's me slow down a bit. Racing in Durban is always ideal for me as I'm always delivering good times and indeed the same thing happened again today. So here it feels like a home away from home," she smiled.


With the Olympics stringent qualification window for track closing on June 30, Xaba who was hoping to qualify for the 10 000m event in Paris, admits that time is against her, which means that she will now shift her focus will to the Grand Prix. The 29-year-old Boxer Athletics Club top runner who won the overall SPAR Grand Prix title back in 2018, is top of the 2024 scoreboard after winning in The Mother City in March.



Defending champion and three-time winner of the SPAR Grand Prix Tadu Nare won in Durban after missing the opening leg in Cape Town in March. Xaba was second and Lesotho's Neheng Khathala took third. Photo Credit: SMacPix.

"Olympics are not in my hands at the moment. The window closes soon and I'm yet to qualify for them. It will go down to the ranking points to decide if I'm going or not," explains Xaba who produced a 31:26.78 personal best over 25 laps of the track just over a month ago.


"I won't be disappointed if I don't end up booking my Olympic spot as there is still time in the next four years to achieve that dream. By that time, I'll doing it over the marathon distance. So the main focus now, is to do well in the Grand Prix and probably win it. It's been a long time since we've had a South African runner achieving that feat. I want to bring the title back home," she said.


With five races in the Gran Prix, the athlete that scores the most number fo points at the end of the series will be crowned champion. The points scoring is calculated on the basis of the total points accumulated in four of her best races. In this way, an athlete can miss one of the five races and remain competitive.

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