Xaba poised to make a statement as SPAR 10km Grand Prix returns on Sunday
Diminutive South African runner Glenrose Xaba aims to put a strong performance when taking part in the Maritzburg Spar Women's 10k race on Sunday. The race is the first of six which form part of a Grand Prix which carries a whopping R185 000 reward for the overall winner. The series was set to get away in June but was delayed by a third wave of Covid19 infections.
With big names like 2019 Grand Prix champion Helalila Johannes and her fellow #Tokyo2021 Olympians Gerda Steyn and Irvette van Zyl missing, it could be the perfect opportunity for Xaba to reign supreme. But the current holder of the SA half-marathon title isn't reading too much into the favourite tag that she has been given, despite being fully prepared for the race.
"I don't want to talk about whether I will the race on Sunday or neither making it to the podium," said the Boxer Athletics Club runner. "You have known me for quite some time that I don't talk much before a race. Anything can happen as you can wake up with a stomach bug or headache then your performance is affected. I simply trust my training which has been good enough to get me to race day. I'm quite fit because I have been training for any competition," shared the 26-year old.
Besides the welcoming the handsome purse in a time where races are very few and far between, the 2018 Grand Prix winner is mostly happy to be simply racing again in South Africa before testing herself abroad. "Spar ladies is one of the races I love, but this year I never planned to run the whole series," explains Mpumalanga born athlete.
"It's good money especially with no races happening but my plan is to get more international 21km races in order to improve my time. That is what I'm focused on doing this year and I'm still hoping for that. That is why winning SA (half marathon) title was so important to me in order to gain recognition. If it doesn't happen then I have to speak to the coach to plan my schedule," said the 26-year old.
The race is by invitation only, with a maximum number of 250 elite athletes taking part. All age categories will be represented and an extra category for the over-70s has been added this year. No spectators will be allowed and there will be strict Covid-19 protocols, but the race will be livestreamed and fans can follow their favourite runners by using the SPORTSPLITS app.