Updated: May 6, 2015

The lead group pushing the pace at the Spar Grand Prix race in Cape Town in March (from left): Mapaseka Makhanya, Rene Kalmer, Rutendo Nyahora and Lebogang Phalula

Rene Kalmer says she is looking forward to the second leg of the Spar Women’s Grand Prix 10km series in Port Elizabeth, as some of South Africa’s top marathon runners aim to recover in time for Saturday’s event.
Kalmer, who was fourth at the opening leg of the Grand Prix campaign in Cape Town in March, finished sixth at the Vienna Marathon last month in 2:33:21.
“I’ve always liked the PE race,” Kalmer said.
“It is the kind of course where you can give it all you have, and as long as the wind is not too bad, the course is a very fair one.
“If it is very windy, which it is sometimes, it can be tough, but I have always enjoyed running there.”
Mapaseka Makhanya, who won the Cape Town leg in a race record of 32:54, was also confirmed in the elite field, just three weeks after taking third place at the Hannover Marathon in a personal best 2:31:02.
Meanwhile, Kalmer’s younger sibling, Christine, was ninth on debut in Vienna in 2:39:16, after displaying impressive form by finishing fifth in Cape Town.
The 42km athletes are expected to face a challenging task against some of the country’s shorter-distance stars in the Windy City.
Defending series champion Diana-Lebo Phalula did not compete in the first leg, as she was on national duty at the World Cross Country Championships, and she will be determined to narrow the gap in the point standings.
Phalula’s twin sister, Lebogang, was third in Cape Town and will hope to step on the podium again, while other elite runners announced in the line-up include Zimbabwean Rutendo Nyahora, who was second at the opening leg, as well as Zintle Xiniwe and Cornelia Joubert.
Jenna Challenor confirmed she would not compete in Port Elizabeth, less than a week after finishing 12th at the Prague Marathon in 2:42:26, following a bout of illness and personal troubles in the build-up.
“My knee is really sore after racing on cobbles, and the antibiotic I took may have caused the knee to flare up, so I’m taking a break,” Challenor said.
“Emotionally I need to recharge too, but I’ll be back. I’m hungry for it.”