The popular Spar Women’s Grand Prix 10km series has been expanded, organisers revealed on Wednesday, with a sixth race added to the calendar for the annual road running campaign.
This year’s series would include a Pietermaritzburg leg, on top of the existing races in Cape Town, Port Elizabeth, Durban, Pretoria and Johannesburg.
“We wanted to expand the Grand Prix, and the Pietermaritzburg race was ideal for our purposes,” said Grand Prix coordinator Ian Laxton.
“It is well run, and well supported, so it has enough clout to fit into the Grand Prix.”
Prize money for the series, which was won last year by marathon runner Irvette van Zyl, had been increased by 7% with the series champion set to receive R173 000.
In another change to the series, it would be open to foreign athletes, who did not previously qualify for Grand Prix incentives, though they were able to compete for prize money at the individual races.
“The inclusion of international runners is an important step,” Laxton said.
“For 10 years, we helped a generation of local runners move into the international arena. Now it’s time to open it up to everyone, because our local girls are ready to take on the world.”
The first race in the 2017 Grand Prix series will be held in Cape Town on April 2.