Cape Town – Lesotho’s Neheng Khatala will renew her rivalry with a resurgent Kesa Molotsane and stalwart Glenrose Xaba on Sunday at the Absa Cape Town 12K Cityrun, making the women’s race another exciting showdown.
Molotsane has been out of form for a while now but seemed to have found her way back into form during 2021. This is despite holding down full-time employment at the University of the Free State.
Molotsane finished third overall in Durban in October but was awarded the silver medal in the SA 10k Championships, as Neheng Khatala, who finished second overall, was not eligible for medals or prize money of the Championships.
Molotsane was overjoyed with her race in Durban. “It has been a rough time, and it has been difficult to come back as I am working full-time, but finishing with a new PB in the 10km (32:51 – a 5sec improvement on her previous best from 2017) was something I did not expect, and I’m overjoyed”.
Molotsane ran in all six Spar Women’s Grand Prix races in a period of 8 weeks. This feat took ke its toll on her body which is why her joy at the new PB is so profound. “I did not expect that. Running in the Grand Prix Series was tough. But I am coming back into shape. I saw that during the series, and I am feeling like my old self again.”
If Molotsane is indeed coming back into the shape that saw her dominate road running in 2017, then Khatala may find the going a bit tougher on Sunday.
In Durban, Khatala fed off the unrelenting pace of find of the season, Tayla Kavanagh who cranked up the speed with every kilometre and only Khatala was able to stick with her until 1km to go and then she too needed to give way. This time with no Kavanagh to set the pace, Khatala, Molotsane and Xaba will need to push the race from their side.
Xaba struggled in Durban with a knee ligament issue but still managed to finish 4th overall (3rd at the SA 10km Championships) with her second-fastest time of the year. A fit Xaba is dangerous, and the three weeks between the two races would have given her time to heal and sharpen up for November 21.
Xaba boasts a best in the 10km is 32:45 run in Durban in 2019. Even with some niggles, Xaba was still able to run 32:59 on two occasions this season. If she is anything back to the form she was in in 2019, then Xaba will be difficult to beat on race day.
Xaba was the SA 10km Champion from 2019, an event that was not held in 2020 due to the Covid Pandemic, so she will be eager to turn the tables on Molotsane in Cape Town to make up for the loss of her title in Durban.
With a flying Khatala, Molotsane and Xaba in the field, the women’s race will no doubt once again be an exciting one to watch.