HELALIA Johannes made light work of competing African athletes and put herself in a commanding position to win the Spar Grand Prix after claiming her second series victory in Cape Town.
Having won the opening leg in Port Elizabeth earlier this month, Johannes lived up to expectations by running an impressive 31:45 in the Mother City. It was the second race of six in the Spar Women’s Challenge 10km series.
The 38-year-old runner also smashed her Namibian national record by five seconds when she crossed the line at the Green Point Stadium.
“I don’t know what will happen tomorrow, I am focusing on today, so I cannot talk about winning the Grand Prix. The weather was perfect… it allowed me to perform to my level best,” said Johannes, who also won marathon gold at last year’s Commonwealth Games on Australia’s Gold Coast.
Johannes pulled away from her rivals at the halfway mark and showed her Nedbank teammate and runner-up Sofia Chegen from Ethiopia, who recorded 32:09, a clean pair of heels. Tadu Nare from Kenya clinched the third spot by crossing the line some 47 seconds behind Chegen, while SA veteran Irvette van Zyl was seventh in 33:49.
“When the race started, I made sure I stayed in touch with the chasing pack.
“After five kilometres, I broke away. What worked for me is that I never allowed other runners to break away from me as we were in the leading group,” an elated Johannes said.
Johannes is already the firm favourite for the third race in the series which is scheduled to take place in Durban on June 23.