Event: Women’s Long Distances Date of birth: 1985/04/09 Personal bests: 800m (2:03.36),...
PHALULA EDGES CONRAD IN DURBAN
The podium finishers in Durban (from left): Nolene Conrad, Lebogang Phalula and Rutendo Nyahora (photo credit: Reg Caldecott)
Lebogang Phalula held off a strong challenge from Nolene Conrad to defend her title at the Durban leg of the Spar Women’s Grand Prix 10km series on Sunday.
After a lengthy delay at the start due to safety concerns, which affected the athletes’ warm-ups and the pace of the race, the duo worked hard together for most of the distance before Phalula pulled away in the closing stages to win in 33:36.
Conrad, producing one of the best performances of her career, held on for second place in 33:39.
Rutendo Nyahora of Zimbabwe finished third in 33.53.
“It was a tough race,” Phalula admitted afterwards.
“I ran with Nolene for much of the way and she pulled away from me at about eight kilometres, but I knew that I had the speed to overtake her if she was still in sight.
“My body was feeling good, and so I sprinted the last bit to win.”
Conrad, a regular competitor in the series, was delighted with her podium finish as she crossed the line just 19 seconds outside her personal best.
“It’s the first time I’ve been in contention to win,” she said.
“We didn’t start too fast and Lebogang and I pulled away from the pack at about 4.5 kilometres, and then I ran away from her.
“She sprinted past me, and there was nothing I could do, but I’m very happy to have finished second.”
There have been three different winners in each of the Spar Grand Prix races this year, with Mapaseka Makhanya winning in Cape Town and Diana-Lebo Phalula securing victory in Port Elizabeth.
Series leader Makhanya, nursing a left Achilles injury, settled for 19th place in Durban after lining up to try and earn valuable points in the lucrative five-leg campaign.
The next race in the series will be held in Pretoria on August 29.
* Results are available in our Results section