Kesa Molotsane (KPMG) gave notice of her intention to defend her SPAR Grand Prix title when she cruised to victory in the opening SPAR Women’s 10km Challenge race at the Bellville Stadium in Cape Town on Sunday.

Molotsane dominated the six race Challenge series last year, winning in Cape Town, Port Elizabeth and Pietermaritzburg, coming second in Durban and Johannesburg and third in Pretoria – and she intends to do just as well in 2018.

The Cape Town race was moved from the flat seafront course in Greenpoint  to a more challenging course in Bellville, where the runners had to contend with a long slow uphill from the third to the seventh kilometre. As a result, none of the top senior runners was able to earn bonus points for running a better time than last year.

Molotsane tops the Grand Prix ladder with 20 points, followed by Glenrose Xaba (Boxer) with 19 and Irvette van Zyl (Nedbank) with 18.  Van Zyl, who has won the Grand Prix title three times, in 2010, 2011 and 2016, was runner-up last year, but she is nearly seven months pregnant, which could affect her participation in the other SPAR races.

“The Two Oceans half-marathon next week will probably be my last race before the birth,” Van Zyl told the media after Sunday’s race.

“But I will see how I feel.  Maybe I will run in Port Elizabeth in May – if I am still allowed to fly by then.”

Molotsane and Xaba said they had no plans for major races before the Port Elizabeth Challenge race, and would be focusing their attention on preparing for it.

“The SPAR races are very important and I will be taking them very seriously,” said Molotsane.

Xaba, who last had a podium finish in a Challenge race in Pretoria in 2016, said she would be working hard to ensure that she had more top three finishes.

The second leg of the SPAR Grand Prix will be the Port Elizabeth SPAR Women’s Challenge on Saturday May 5th.

The 2018 SPAR Grand Prix calendar is as follows;


Bellville, Cape Town               Sunday 25 March 2018

Port Elizabeth                         Saturday 5 May 2018

Durban                                    Sunday 24 June 2018

Pretoria                                   Saturday 4 August 2018

Pietermaritzburg                     Sunday 19 August 2018

Johannesburg                         Sunday 7 October 2018