There was drama at the SPAR Women’s 10 km Challenge in Pietermaritzburg on Sunday, when five elite athletes were disqualified after taking the wrong route.
Irvette van Zyl (Nedbank) won the race in 34.26 minutes, just 10 weeks after giving birth to her second son. Jenet Mbhele (Umzimkh was second in 34.47 minutes and Rutendo Nyahora (Nedbank) was third in 34.56.
The disqualified runners included the two Grand Prix leaders, Glenrose Xaba (Boxer) and Kesa Moletsane (KPMG). The others were Lebogang Phalula (Boxer) and Lesotho nationals, Neheng Khatala (Nedbank) and Mamorella Tjoka (Nedbank).
Van Zyl was in a lead group of five runners when the confusion occurred just before the 5km mark. The route required the athletes to run a loop through the Mayor’s Garden. The lead cars were not able to go through the narrow gate, but there was a lead bicycle to take the runners through. Van Zyl followed the bicycle, but the other four followed the lead cars, cutting off a section of the route.
Van Zyl was disappointed that it had not been a normal victory.
“I didn’t know what had happened to the other runners, and I was very confused when I saw them ahead of me,” said Van Zyl.
“I actually slowed down so that we could run together, but then I just went for it. It wasn’t a real race.”
After the race, KPMG lodged an appeal and the matter was referred to a Jury of Appeal.
Race Director, Brad Glasspoole, said the unanimous verdict of the jury was that the runners who followed the incorrect route should be disqualified and that the race results would stand.
“If all the runners had followed the wrong route, it would have been different he said these are professional athletes and it is their responsibility to know the route,” he said.
“This is the same route we’ve had for the past five years and the route is available on the website.”
The outcome could have an impact on the SPAR Grand Prix, with Xaba and Molotsane recording no points.
This means the final race, in Johannesburg on October 7, will be of critical importance to the outcome of the Grand Prix.
RESULTS FOR THE SPAR WOMEN’S CHALLENGE
1 Irvette van Zyl (Nedbank Running Club AGN) 34.26, 2 Jenet Mbhele 34.47, 3 Rutendo Nyahora (Nedbank Running Club Zimbabwe) 34.56, 4 Portia Ngwenya (Nedbank Running Club AGN) 35.16, 5 Rudo Mhonderwa (Nedbank Running Club Zimbabwe) 35.38, 6 Patience Murowe (Nedbank Running Club Zimbabwe) 36.16, 7 Nobukhosi Tshuma 36.28, 8 Cornelia Joubert 36.37, 9 Cherise Sims 36.52, 10 Mokulubete Makatisi 36.59
1 Liza Kellerman 38.38, 2 Simangaliso Madlala 39.35, 3 Cherry Lee Schoeman 40.28
Female 35 – 39
1 Fikile Mbuthuma (Nedbank Running Club KZN) 37.59, 2 Cary-Ann Smith (Nedbank Running Club KZN) 43.53, 3 Nikki Kelbrick 58.52
Female 40 – 49
1 Ronel Thomas 40.23, 2 Elizabeth Dlhiwayo 40.57, 3 Janene Carey 41.52
Female 50 -59
1 Grace de Oliveira 44.45, 2 Xolisile Mwelase 48.11, 3 Gail Babich 48.40
Female 60 -69
1 Blanche Moila 49.11, 2 Jenny Taylor 51.29, 3 Sibongile Zakwe 01:00.35
1 Gill Tregenna 59.25, 2 Ivy Gertrude Lottering 01:20.51
Photo Credit : Reg Caldecott