Tish Jones wins Durban SPAR Womens 10km Challenge

DIMINUTIVE British distance runner, Tish Jones (KPMG), broke through the elite and highly competitive field of South African athletes to win the Durban leg of the SPAR Womens 10km Challenge today (Sunday, June 11) in a personal best time of 32 minutes 58 seconds.

Among the leaders right from the start, Jones shrugged off a trio of Nedbank runners which included Zimbabwean long distance runner, Rutendo Nyahora, together with Nolene Conrad soon after rounding the halfway mark in the fast, flat Durban beachfront course and finally broke away on her own.

Running strongly in the virtually perfect windless and warm conditions, Jones jumped into the lead and ran solo for the last four kilometres and finished 33 seconds ahead of second-placed Kesa Moletsane (also KPMG) who finished in 33:31 with third-placed Lebogang Phalula (Boxer) crossing the finish line in 33:39.

The top runners averaged 3 min 15 sec per kilometre with six runners crossing the finish line withing a minute of the winner in the shadow of the Growthpoint Kings Park Rugby Stadium.

Described as the countrys most beautiful road race, Jones was running for only the second time in this popular series, having first shown her mettle in winning the womens event in the Sanlam Cape Town Marathon in 2:36:13 last year.

The British runner, who is based and trains in the Western Cape, came fourth in the last London Marathon, missing the cut for the British team to compete in this years World Championships, also in London, with only three runners gaining selection for this event.

Speaking at the press conference after the race she said she had planned to run a sub 33-minute race and having achieved this could be highly satisfied with her previous best times over this distance both set last year with a 33:16 in Leeds in November and a 33:05 in Houilles, France, in December.

I always try to remain relaxed and to maintain a steady pace, she said, but whatever you choose to be good at you have to just make up your mind to go all out for.

Jones said she would now focus on next years Commonwealth Games Marathon and also defend her title in the Cape Town Marathon.

Jones added that she would also seriously consider entering in two of the remaining three races in the SPAR 10km Grandprix Series.

Moletsane said she had been ill for the past two weeks but had entered this race on account of her high status in the SPAR Grand Prix, which is spread over all six races in the series.

Her second place today (June 11) earned her 29 points more to add to the 59 she already has, 29 also for coming second in the Cape Town leg and 30 for winning the Port Elizabeth leg.