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  • Writer's pictureMosibodi Whitehead

Xaba wins in Cape Town to end 5 year SPAR Grand Prix SA winless streak

As if to underline her excellent shape and to signal her intentions for the year ahead, Glenrose Xaba opened her 2024 SPAR Grand Prix campaign with a thrilling victory in Cape Town this morning. The Boxer Athletic Club top runner stopped who had taken the lead around halfway only to fall off the pace, was forced to produce a late kick to win the race in 32:17. In the process Xaba bested a quality field including the Ethiopian Nedbank Running Club pair of Diniya Kedir Abaraya (32:24) and Getenesh Agafaw (33:03).


"It was a good race and it went according to the plan I had discussed with my coach. When Abaraya started sprinting with more than a kilometre left I was surprised and thought she had misjudged the finish, but I did not give up. I've been working hard on my finishing speed, which helped in the end, and I was very excited to get the win," she said moments after crossing the finish line at the Greenpoint Sports Common.


Xaba celebrates her first SPAR Grand Prix win since 2018. Photo Credit: Ashley Vlotman.

For her efforts, the 2018 SPAR Grand Prix winner earned R43 000 in prize money while also taking the lead in the overall Grand Prix with four races to go. Asked about her promising early season form which also saw her win the national 10km title a fortnight ago, the 29-year-old who is coached by Caster and Violet Semenya revealed that her decision to run improve her speed by running more track races is paying dividends.


"My training has been going well. You saw me run 800m and 1500m and that surprised a lot of people that I could manage to run a 2:08 800m and 4:20 for 1500m. I saw that I usually struggle towards the end of the race. That's what happened when I lost the 5000m at the Cape Milers last year. When I kick early with 150m to go, then I realise that I don't have enough speed. So my idea was to improve my fitness and speed towards the end of the race by focusing on speed and it's going very well," she told #TheTopRunner.


Xaba going toe-to-toe with the Ethiopians. Photo Credit: Ashley Vlotman.

Aside from the elite athletes, over 14 000 women took to the streets to The Mother City for the opening SPAR Grand Prix race of the 2024 season. According to SPAR National PR, Communications & Sponsorships Manager Mpudi Maubane, the handsome prize purse for the top runners and the overall investment in the SPAR Grand Prix and Women’s Challenge Series prove that the SPAR Group is not just paying lip service to women empowerment.


"Through this investment, we do not only empower but we encourage women of all walks of life to lead and live a healthy lifestyle. The SPAR Grand Prix complements our SPAR Women’s Challenge events held in the major centers of South Africa. Through the SPAR Grand Prix, we celebrate excellence in all age groups and reward dedicated runners with substantial prize money to help them to develop their running careers," she said.


RESULTS:


1 Glenrose Xaba (Boxer) 32:17, 2 Diniya Kedir Abaraya (Nedbank) 32:24, 3 Getenesh Agafaw (Nedbank) 33:02, 4 Cacisile Sosibo (Boxer) 33:06, 5 Kesa Molotsane (Kovsies) 33:17, 6 Karabo Mailula (Tuks) 34:43, 7 Lebogang Phalula-Luthuli (Boxer) 35:49, 8 Lebo Phalula-Mzazi (Boxer) 35:50, 9 Bianca Tarboton (Temp) 35:58, 10 Betha Sitariko (Atlantic) 36:25

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