Tadu Nare

Local race organisers are primed to host a sizzling finale to the SPAR 2021 Grand Prix Series when the annual roadrunning extravaganza ends in Gqeberha next month.

SPAR Grand Prix Gqeberha, an invitational women’s 10km challenge, will take place on a flat and fast track on the South Campus of Nelson Mandela University on October 9.

The day will see a host of elite athletes, who have been involved in a sequence of gripping contests around the country, going head-to-head in the final race to decide the overall winner.

They will be joined by selected leading Eastern Cape runners, who will be invited to be part of the maximum entry of 250, for the dash through the Nelson Mandela University campus.

After three events, Ethiopian Tadu Nare, running for Nedbank, is undefeated to head the leaderboard with 75 points.

However, there are still three races to go, with the SPAR Grand Prix Tshwane taking place on Sunday followed by the SPAR Grand Prix Joburg on October 3.

Runners such as Fortunate Chidzivo (Retail Capital), in second position with 64 points, as well as Kesa Molotsane and her Murray & Roberts teammate Cian Oldknow (joint-third on 62), will be targeting podium finishes to try to close the gap on Nare.

SPAR Eastern Cape promotions and events manager Alan Stapleton said they were hard at work with the race organisers to host a memorable final event at Nelson Mandela University.

Tadu Nare

Ethiopian runner Tadu Nare is on top of the SPAR Grand Prix Series leaderboard after three events. The series will conclude with the final race in Gqeberha on October 9. Photo: Rogan Ward

“There are many factors to consider, but we are confident of producing a top-notch race next month, even with the limitations imposed by the Covid-19 pandemic restrictions.

“We are delighted that Gqeberha will host the Grand Prix finale as it gives us a chance to showcase our city and Nelson Mandela University.”

SPAR Women’s Virtual Challenge ambassador Alec Riddle, who has been involved with the event for three decades, said he anticipated a fast time on the flat course.

“The runners will be doing loops of about 3.1km before finishing off in the stadium at the Madibaz Stadium where they will race the final 300 metres on the track,” he said.

“Generally you find that when runners do loops in a race they will be a bit faster and this is a particularly flat course.

“It does not have the inclines of the previous route through Summerstrand and Humewood so, if the weather is good, I think there will be very fast times.”

Due to strict Covid-19 regulations no spectators are permitted at the SPAR Grand Prix Series, but you can watch the race on the SPAR Grand Prix Series Facebook page, as well as tracking runners live using the SportSplits tracker app.

This app also provides an updated live leaderboard and race results.