SA athlete Makhanya bags overall title

“I'm so excited, I did not expect to win the grand prix. I thought I would at least finish in the top three,” said Makhanya after the race on Saturday in Pretoria.

“This has been a very good year for me and I'm really happy with winning today.”

The former track specialist, who came into the race with a 19 point lead, wrapped up the overall grand prix series in spectacular fashion, shaving 73 seconds from the previous course record of 34:50 set two years ago by René Kalmer.

Kalmer finished second in 33:56 and Irvette Van Zyl followed in 34:21.

Makhanya won the Durban leg of the series last month and finished second and third, in Cape Town and Port Elizabeth, respectively.

She continued her winning ways in the Jacaranda city, where she dominated her field and ran solo from the six-kilometre mark.

“We started the race a bit fast and it was tough out there. It was very hilly and very windy,” Makhanya said.

'I just ran unchallenged'
“René and I ran together for the first few kilometres and I broke away towards the 6km mark. From there, I just ran unchallenged until the end.

“I felt comfortable throughout the whole race but the last two kilometres were tough on my legs as it was flat and downhill.”

Meanwhile Van Zyl, who had battled with injuries this year, said she was delighted with her race and hoped it signalled an end to her woes.

“It was a good race for me, especially coming back from injury,” Van Zyl said.

“I really wanted to finish in the top three today because I have had a tough year with all my races. Today I had no problems with my foot and did not have to stop and stretch or worry about it.

“I feel good today and really confident again, so it's good to be back and finally run a race without stopping.”

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