The top three: Gerda Steyn (2nd), Helalia Johannes (winner) and Irvette van Zyl (3rd) during the Spar Women's Challenge at Marks Park Sports Club in Johannesburg, October 6 2019. Picture: REG CALDECOTT/GALLO IMAGES
The top three: Gerda Steyn (2nd), Helalia Johannes (winner) and Irvette van Zyl (3rd) during the Spar Women's Challenge at Marks Park Sports Club in Johannesburg, October 6 2019. Picture: REG CALDECOTT/GALLO IMAGES

Namibian sensation Helalia Johannes shone with another great performance to win the Joburg leg of the Spar Women’s 10km Challenge at Marks Park Sports Club in the record time of 33.16min on Sunday.

It was her sixth consecutive record-breaking win in the Grand Prix series and it came just over a week after she bagged a bronze medal in the women’s marathon at the World Athletics Championships in Doha.

Comrades Marathon winner Gerda Steyn was second in 34.28 and 2018’s Joburg winner Irvette van Zyl finished third in 34.40 in what was a top three clean sweep by Nedbank runners.

As in the previous Women’s Challenge races this season‚ Johannes went out fast and led from start to finish with a bunch that included Steyn‚ Van Zyl‚ Ethiopian junior Tadu Nare and Glenrose Xaba.

Johannes said it was difficult to recover from the World Championships in Doha and still win in Johannesburg.

“I prepared well for the marathon and I think I was able to do well here because I really am super fit. I am happy to have won again‚” she said.

Grand Prix co-ordinator Ian Laxton said Johannes’s performance in the six Challenge races have been exceptional.

“She earned the maximum points in each race‚ earning bonus points every time and taking the other runners with her. No-one has been this dominant in the Grand Prix before‚” said Laxton.

Steyn‚ who is preparing for the New York Marathon on November 6‚ said she used the race to work on her speed for New York.

“It’s a great way to prepare. I knew that the second half of the race was uphill so I stuck as close as I could to the leaders on the downhill‚ because my strength is my stamina and endurance. I always do well on the hills. The Challenge races are great‚ I love taking part in a women’s race‚” said Steyn.

Van Zyl‚ who underwent surgery for a neural problem in her groin earlier in 2019‚ said she has had a rollercoaster year and is pleased to have finished on the podium in the race she won in 2018.

“My next goal is the Soweto Marathon on November 3 where I am hoping to win for the third time. It’s been a tough year but I hope I will be in better shape then‚” said Van Zyl.

Grandmaster Sonja Laxton notched up her 100th Women’s Challenge on Sunday.