The queen of Spar Grand Prix

SPAR LEADERS: At the 2017 Spar Grand Prix award ceremony are: Richard Stander, CEO ASA, Irvette Van Zyl (Nedbank), Mr. Gert Oosthuizen (deputy minister of sport and recreation), Kesa Molotsane (KPMG), Mike Prentice (Spar Group marketing executive), Nolene Conrad (KPMG). Photo: Annette van Schalkwyk

THE accolades went to Kesa Molotsane who won the Spar Grand Prix award for 2017.

The Bloemfontein based athlete had never participated in a Spar Women’s Challenge 10km race before she decided that this year was her time to show her class.

She entered the Spar Women’s 10km Challenge races this year to boost her training for track events and ended up winning the coveted Spar Grand Prix title in her debut year.

Almost 150 000 contenders entered the 2017 Spar Women’s Challenge races which were held in six destinations across the country.

Molotsane was handed a cheque for R173 000 at the Spar Grand Prix awards ceremony on November 7.

Molotsane is only the seventh person to win the title and the only one to do so in her debut year. She won the Cape Town, Port Elizabeth and Pietermaritzburg races, finished second in Durban and Johannesburg, and third in Pretoria to finish with 156 points – 10 points ahead of her nearest rival, three-times Grand Prix winner Irvette van Zyl, who won in Pretoria and Johannesburg, came second in Cape Town and Port Elizabeth, and third in Pietermaritzburg.

The battle for top spot would have been even closer if Van Zyl had not been forced to drop out in Durban because of an injury. Molotsane gained bonus points for finishing within the target times set by the organisers in every race except Durban and Johannesburg, while Van Zyl earned bonus points in every race she finished.

“I lost the Grand Prix when I pulled up after four kilometres in Durban,” she said.

GRAND WINNER: 2017 Spar Grand Prix award winner, Kesa Molostane of KPMG with her winning trophy at the 2017 Spar Grand Prix award ceremony .
Photo: Annette van Schalkwyk

Van Zyl, winner of Sunday’s Soweto Marathon, won R50 000 and was placed second in the 2017 Spar Grand Prix. She won the title in 2010, 2011 and 2016 though.

Nolene Conrad (KPMG), who finished every race in the top 10, with podium finishes in Pretoria and Johannesburg, came joint third with 2013 Grand Prix winner Mapaseka Makhanya (Massmart). Both achieved 67 points and also received R27 500 each.

Molotsane said she felt humbled by winning the Grand Prix title.

“When I ran the first one in Cape Town, I was really doing it just as a form of training for track racing. I planned to run just one or two, but then I realised I had a chance of winning the Grand Prix, so I carried on and I will definitely be running the Spar races again next year,” said Molotsane.

Nicole Louw (KPMG) topped the leader board in the junior category, winning the four races she entered. She earned a total of 35 points. Shanley Koekemoer (KPMG) was second with 21 points, and Simonay Weitz (Boxer Club), who won the Cape Town and Port Elizabeth races, came third with 20 points.

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Annette van Schalkwyk

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