SPAR Family Challenge a breeze for champ Hejana

Defending champion Luthando Hejana breezed past his rivals to take his second straight victory in blustery conditions at the 10km SPAR Family Challenge road race in East London on Saturday.

Luthando Hejana celebrates his second straight 10km victory at the SPAR Family Challenge in East London on Saturday. Photo: Full Stop Communications
Luthando Hejana celebrates his second straight 10km victory at the SPAR Family Challenge in East London on Saturday. Photo: Full Stop Communications

Hejana (Born 2 Run) crossed the finish line at Beaconhurst Primary School in a time of 36:09, almost four-and-a-half minutes ahead of runner-up Malixole Kalideni in 40:48, with Masixole Mpemvushe third in 42:30.

The 28-year-old winner shaved more than three minutes off his previous course record of 39:27, which he set during last year’s inaugural race.

“I had the wind right from the front for most of the race, and with that came a lot of dust and sand in my face,” said Hejana, shortly after flying across the finish line.

“Despite the wind I still enjoyed the race. The route was challenging, but a lot of fun. I look forward to next year’s race.”

Runners faced all seasons as they lined up for the lunchtime start.

Strong winds started blowing shortly before the race, and a light drizzle cooled the athletes down along the route, before they crossed the finish line with the wind at their backs and the sun on their faces.

The first woman across the line was Andrea Ranger in 49:50. She was followed home by Tammy Kelly (52:09) and Debbie Ravenscroft (55:03) in second and third respectively.

Andrea Ranger celebrated her victory in the 10km women’s race at the SPAR Family Challenge in East London on Saturday with six-month-old son Bradley. Photo: Full Stop Communications
Andrea Ranger celebrated her victory in the 10km women’s race at the SPAR Family Challenge in East London on Saturday with six-month-old son Bradley. Photo: Full Stop Communications

“Luckily we had the wind at our backs while running along the beach section, which would have been the worst time to have it from the front,” said Ranger.

This was one of the 33-year-old’s first events since giving birth to her son just six months ago. Ranger said she looked forward to coming back and defending her title next year.

“The race was a lot of fun and I am happy with my time. I think next year will be just as good.”

In the 5km fun run, the first runner home was women’s race winner Sivenati Matikinca in 21:14, with Mbuyiseli Mema defending his men’s title in 22:47.

For results and photos, visit www.sparfamilychallenge.co.za, find SPAR EC in Action on Facebook or follow @SPAR_EC.

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