Women overcome stiff Rainbow Challenge

With a bout of unseasonal rainfall in the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands having settled for the inaugural Rainbow Challenge, the women’s races were well contested in Pietermaritzburg on Saturday 28 June.

Oudshoorn resident Frances Barnard produced the ride of the day to claim the 35-39 age category and post the women’s fastest time at the Rainbow Challenge in Pietermaritzburg on Saturday. Barnard had spent a lot of the race working with fellow Western Cape resident and women’s 35-39 second place finisher Yolande de Villiers but explains that she was able to get away from the latter and put some time between them in the run-in to the finish.

“Myself and Yolande got away quite early and raced most of the race together and it was easy for us because we know each other well,” Barnard said. “We forced the pace at the front and I was just glad that I managed to get away from her at the end to get the win.”

The weather was a concern for riders heading into the race on Saturday and Barnard was slightly apprehensive in the build up to the event. By having the men’s races leaving before them, the course was in better condition by the time the women headed out.

“I am over the moon after this victory. I was quite nervous coming into the race because of the rain and I just hoped to finish the race in one piece. I went out there saying that I was going to try my best and the result is just a bonus! It was really muddy out there to start but I am glad that the boys went first because they swept the track and it was quite a lot of fun,” the national marathon champion said.

In the 50km race it was Sarah van Heerden who outstripped the rest of the field to claim the women’s 50+ Rainbow Challenge title on Saturday. Van Heerden was happy with her effort however she was quick to put the win in perspective.

“I know that there are a lot of girls that couldn't be here so you just take the result for what it is but they weren't here today so that is the luck of the draw I guess,” van Heerden said.

Following the rain overnight, Van Heerden was surprised by the fact that the course was not as slippery as she initially expected and she mentioned how much she enjoyed her day in the saddle. “I thought it would be muddier than it was, which was a surprise! There were a few sections that were a little bit tacky but it is an amazing course with such variety but it certainly is not easy,” she commented.

It was a great day for last year’s 30-34 Cross Country Masters World Champion Nedene Cahill who produced a dominant display to win the women’s 30-34 age category by over a minute as the Hillcrest resident added the Rainbow Challenge jersey to her collection.

Summary of results – 2014 RAINBOW CHALLENGE

Click here to view the full results

Women 30-34 (70km)
1 Nedene Cahill 04:50:00
2 Dalene van der Leek 04:51:29
3 Vanessa Bell 04:51:46
4 Liesl Lourens 05:06:39
5 Katerina Slegrova 05:08:18

Women 35-39 (70km)
1 Frances Barnard 04:28:20
2 Genevieve Weber 04:39:56
3 Michelle Vorster 04:48:47
4 Nadia Visser 05:17:05
5 Nicky Booyens 05:20:03

Women 40-44 (70km)
1 Yolande de Villiers 04:32:37
2 Natalie Bergstrom 04:54:02
3 Isabel Moolman 05:09:09
4 Andrea von Holdt 05:22:19

Women 45-49 (70km)
1 Brenda Potts 04:56:15
2 Monica Glover 05:04:21
3 Bonny Swanepoel 05:19:11
4 Wanda Tattersall 05:24:28
5 Sanmari Woithe 05:37:00

Women 50+ (50km)
1 Sarah van Heerden 03:35:00
2 Colleen Jacobs 03:56:47
3 Nicky Green 03:57:05
4 Helen Gibbings 04:14:36
5 Frances Marsburg 04:33:28

More information on the 2014 Rainbow Challenge can be found at www.rainbowchallenge.co.za 


Source: Rainbow Challenge press release

Photo: Darren Goddard/Gameplan Media