Johannes warms up for Spar challenge
Despite the uncertainty the Covid-19 pandemic presents, Robert Kaxuxuena, Helalia Johannes’ coach, said they are ready to compete in the Spar Grand Prix 10 km Invitational on 27 June in Durban.
17 June 2021 | Sports
Robert Kaxuxuena, marathon queen Helalia Johannes’ coach, said preparations ahead of the Spar Grand Prix 10 km Invitational have been great so far and the athlete is confident ahead of the race.
He, however, added that the increase in Covid-19 infections and the recent 14-day lockdown of Windhoek and the surrounding towns is worrying.
“We just hope things will get better, that there won’t be an extension and that they will be allowed to travel closer to the race date as this is preparation for the Tokyo Games,” Kaxuxuena said.
By invite only
After being cancelled last year due to the Covid-19 crisis, the popular Spar Grand Prix, consisting of six 10 km races in six cities, will again be presented in limited format this year only for invited athletes.
Johannes has won the race six times so far. In 2019, she put on a stellar performance to win the 10 km challenge in a record time of 33.16 minutes.
The first Spar Grand Prix Invitational in Durban will be followed by the Tshwane race on 7 August and the Pietermaritzburg Invitational on 22 August. The Cape Town Invitational will take place on 4 September and the Johannesburg race will be run on 3 October. The final race will be in Gqeberha – formerly Port Elizabeth – on 9 October.
“All of these races will be after the Tokyo Games, so we plan to be in top shape,” Kaxuxuena added.
Covid-19 protocols mean the race fields will be much smaller this year, but there will still be prize money of N$100 000 up for grabs for each race. The ultimate winner of the Spar Grand Prix will receive N$185 000.
After consultations with Athletics South Africa and government, it was decided to limit each race to 250 runners, with no spectators allowed.