The Spar Grand Prix awards ceremony were held yesterday at Emperors Palace in Ekurhuleni and the Nedbank running dominated, with Helalia Johannes taking top honours after the six-race series came to completion.
Johannes, described at the ceremony as ‘the most dominant athlete in Spar Grand Prix history,’ won all 6 events, breaking all 6 course records in the process and scoring 180 points, the maximum an athlete can score in the series. Never has an athlete achieved this feat before.
“The Spar Ladies series was part of my plan this year just in order to build speed for my 2 marathons,” said Johannes afterwards. “I can say that I fell in love with the series and I am really happy to be crowned the winner.”
Behind her, teammate Tadu Nare took 2nd in the series as well as winning the junior category and ended on 151 points. Just missing a podium spot was Irvette Van Zyl by 2 points. What stands out with this achievement is the fact that Van Zyl was out of action for 7 weeks after an op and missed the Tshwane race but earned bonus points in four of the five events in the series she ran.
Other Nedbank running club athletes finishing amongst the money winners on the table were Rutendo Nyahora equal 9th, Patience Murowe 11th, Sarah Neibei 14th and Comrades champion Gerda Steyn in 19th who only took part in 1 of the 6 events when she finished 2nd in the Johannesburg leg.
In the grandmaster’s category, Nedbank running club’s Olga Howard was a runaway victor earning 42 points in total to take the series title. Teammate Margie Saunders was 2nd.
Just as Johannes had dominated the series, never has a club been so dominant, with the Nedbank running club taking the club title with 4 athletes in the top 10 on the series log, ending with a total of 762 points, over 500 points ahead of the 2nd placed team.
Apart from the awards in the various categories, special recognition awards were also awarded to 3 Nedbank running club athletes for their participation and dedication over the years in the Spar Grand Prix series. These were awarded to Van Zyl, Nyahora and 1992 Comrades Marathon winner Frances Van Blerk.
The Nedbank running club congratulate all our ladies on superb performances and look to continue this momentum next year.