Modern Athlete Magazine Issue 145, Sept/Oct 2021 | Page 15

Tadu Nare

Clean Sweep for SPAR Grand Prix Champ

The 2021 SPAR Grand Prix has proven to be an outstanding success for 20-year-old Ethiopian athlete Tadu Nare of the Nedbank Running Club . She took challenging travel and lockdown restrictions in her stride as she dominated the series from start to finish .
Images : Rogan Ward & Reg Caldecott

In 2019 , a then relatively unknown junior from Ethiopia arrived in South Africa to participate in the SPAR Grand Prix for the first time , and in a highly successful debut campaign , she finished second in all six races , cinching second overall in the Grand Prix points table . Unfortunately , her remarkable achievement was completely outshone by Namibian Helalia Johannes , who won all six races that year , the first woman ever to record a clean sweep of the series , but many took note of the slight , soft-spoken Ethiopian runner-up .

With the return of the Grand Prix in 2021 after a COVID-enforced hiatus in 2020 , it was Nare ’ s turn to complete a clean sweep of six wins as she completely dominated the series . That saw her clinch the overall Grand Prix title for the first time , with a perfect total of 150 points ( 25 points per win ). That saw her collect a total of R150,000 in prize money for the six wins , and an additional R190,000 for winning the SPAR Grand Prix title , giving her a grand total of R340,000 for seven weeks ’ work .
Although she posted emphatic wins in all six races , the series was definitely not easy for the young Ethiopian . Due to visa restrictions , she had to fly back to Ethiopia after each race , and she said , “ It was very tiring , all that flying and the resultant COVID tests .” However , there is no rest in sight just yet for the hardworking Nare . “ I am training for my first marathon , in Barcelona in November , so I have to keep up my training schedule , even though I would like time to rest and recover from all these flights . To prepare for 42.2km , I have been doing 35km training runs during the week between the SPAR races .”
Looking further ahead , she added that she hopes to return in 2022 to defend her title . “ I love South Africa – it ’ s like my second home – and I am very grateful to SPAR for putting on these races to give us an opportunity to compete and to make some money . I hope to build a house for my mother with the money ,” she said with a smile .
Also on the Podium
Former Grand Prix titleholder Kesa Molotsane ( Murray & Roberts ) finished second in the Grand Prix standings and receives R90,000 in prize money , on top of prize money in individual races . Her final result underlined the importance of consistency , as she finished second in Cape Town and Johannesburg , fourth in Pietermaritzburg and Gqeberha , fifth in Tshwane and 10th in Durban , for a total of 129 points and comfortable second place on the points table .
In contrast , there was a battle royale for the next three places , with three runners finishing within a point of one another . Finishing joint third were another former Grand Prix winner , Glenrose Xaba ( Boxer ), and Zimbabwean Fortunate Chidzivo ( Retail Capital Langa ), who both earned 117 , with Cian Oldknow ( Murray &
Roberts ) finishing fifth on 116 points . Xaba and Chidzivo thus shared the prize money for third and fourth places , each receiving R47,500 , while Cian took home R35,000 .
Like Molotsane , Chidzivo ’ s success was the result of consistency and taking part in all six races , finishing fifth , fourth , fifth , sixth , eighth and 11th . Xaba , on the other hand , finished second three times ( Pietermaritzburg , Durban and Tshwane ), third in Gqeberha and fourth in Johannesburg . However , she missed the Cape Town race through injury and could not make up ground to overtake Molotsane .
Cateogory Success Stories
A freak accident caused former Comrades Marathon winner Charné Bosman ( Murray & Roberts ) to lose out on first place in the 40-49 age category . She won the first four races convincingly , with clubmate Janie Grundling in second place on each occasion , but then missed the final two races after stumbling on the stairs at home and injuring her foot . Grundling won the two remaining races and wrapped up the category title to win R6000 , with Bosman having to settle for second spot and R4000 in Grand Prix prize money .
After a ding-dong , series-long battle , Elmarie Pretorius ( Run / Walk for Life ) and Shani Silver ( Boxer ) finished joint winners of the 50-59 category , with 27 points each . Both won three races and will receive R5000 each . Meanwhile , Judy Bird ( Murray & Roberts ) recorded a clean sweep in the 60-69 category , earning R6000 , and also finished the series as new SA Record-holder in her age category . The junior category was won by Naledi Makgatha ( Murray & Roberts ), with clubmate Rylee Challenor second .
Murray & Roberts , whose runners dominated several age categories as well as scoring consistently in the open category , finished the clear winner of the club competition , with 731 points from 28 scoring athletes . Nedbank was second on 605 points from 19 scorers , with Boxer third on 368 points from seven scorers .
Kesa Molotsane
Glenrose Xaba
Fortunate Chidzivo