Changes revealed for Grand Prix 10km series

Updated: March 1, 2017

Irvette van Zyl will defend her title this year in the expanded Grand Prix series

A number of changes have been made to the new-look Spar Grand Prix women’s 10km series this year.
Now in its 11th season, the 2017 series would consist of six races, organisers revealed on Wednesday, with the annual Spar Women’s Challenge in Pietermaritzburg being added to the campaign.
The other five legs would again be held in Cape Town, Port Elizabeth, Durban, Centurion and Johannesburg.
On top of this, prize money would be increased across the board and the Grand Prix winner would receive R173 000, with points tallied throughout the series.
In another first, international athletes would also qualify for Grand Prix incentives, which was expected to attract a larger foreign contingent.
“The inclusion of international runners is an important step,” said Grand Prix coordinator Ian Laxton.
“For 10 years, we helped a generation of local runners move into the international arena.  Now it’s time to open it up to everyone, because our local girls are ready to take on the world.
“With six races this year, these international runners need to come to at least four, and probably five, of the races if they want to win. That means we could have several African stars here for the whole series.
“That’s good for road running in South Africa and we plan to eventually become a destination for world class women athletes.
“We invite the Kenyans, the Ethiopians and other world class runners to come to the Spar Grand Prix in 2017.”
As part of efforts to raise standards, there would be an additional cash incentives – R5 000 in the open category and R2 500 in each of the age divisions – as well as bonus points for runners who beat target times.
The targets would be based on the fastest performance at each of the races over the last three years.
Only the first runner under the target times would receive cash bonuses, but everyone who dipped under the required marks would get extra points.

Schedule, 2017 Spar Women’s Grand Prix series:

April 2 – Cape Town
May 6 – Port Elizabeth
June 11 – Durban
August 5 – Centurion
August 20 – Pietermaritzburg
October 8 – Johannesburg