Exciting Showdown As ABSA Cape Town 12km CITYRUN Returns

Adnaan Mohamed (WPA), 19 November 2021

Lesotho’s Neheng Khatala will renew her rivalry with a resurgent Kesa Molotsane and stalwart Glenrose Xaba at the Absa CAPE TOWN 12K CITYRUN, making the women’s race another exciting showdown.

And if the Absa DURBAN 10K CITYRUN (which doubled as the SA Championships three weeks ago) is anything to go by, then this race on Sunday 21 November will indeed be a mouth-watering prospect.

Molotsane has been out of form for a while now, but seemed to have found her way back during 2021 – this in spite of holding down full-time employment at the University of the Free State. She finished third overall at the Absa DURBAN 10K CITYRUN on 31 October but was awarded the silver medal in the SA 10k Championships as Khatala, who finished second overall, was not eligible for medals or prize money of the Championships.

Molotsane was overjoyed with her race in Durban. “It has been a rough time and it has been difficult to come back as I am working full-time. But finishing with a new PB (personal best) in the 10km (32:51 – a 5 sec improvement on her previous best from 2017) was something I did not expect, and I’m overjoyed.”

Molotsane ran in all six Spar Women’s Grand Prix races in a period of eight weeks, a feat that took its toll on her body which is why her joy at the new PB is so profound. “I did not expect that. Running in the Grand Prix Series would be so tough. But I am coming back into shape. I saw that during the series, and I am feeling like my old self again.”

If Molotsane is indeed coming back into the shape that saw her dominate road running in 2017, then Khatala may find the going a bit tougher than in Durban. In that race, Khatala fed off the unrelenting pace of the find of the season, Tayla Kavanagh, who cranked up the speed with every kilometre. This time, with no Kavanagh to set the pace, Khatala, Molotsane and Xaba will need to push the race from their side.

Xaba struggled in Durban with a knee ligament issue, but still managed to finish 4th overall (3rd at the SA 10km Championships) with her second fastest time of the year. A fit Xaba is dangerous and the three weeks between the two races would have given her time to heal and sharpen up for November 21.

Xaba was the SA 10km Champion from 2019, an event that was not held in 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic. So she will be eager to turn the tables on Molotsane in Cape Town to make up for the loss of her title in Durban.

Xaba boasts a best in the 10km, which is a 32:45 run in Durban in 2019. Even with some niggles, she was still able to run 32:59 on two occasions this season. So if Xaba is in anything like the form she was in in 2019, then she will be difficult to beat on race day. 

With a flying Khatala, Molotsane and Xaba in the field, the women’s race will no doubt once again be an exciting one to watch.

Manja to spoil the party?

Meanwhile, the men’s race is already on fire with the announcement of Morris Munene Gachaga, Daniel Simiyu Ebenyo, an in-form Precious Mashele and the Madala of road running, Stephen Mokoka, all confirmed. 

Gachaga and Ebenyo have the 12km World Best time of 33:27 firmly in their sights and Mashele will love the pace they will need to set to break the time that 33:27 set by Morris Gachaga in this very race in 2017.

But one man who could spoil the party of the main protagonists is David Manja, whose 2021 season delivered two big PBs in the half marathon and over 15km. Manja ran 62:12 in Gqeberha on 1 May at the SA Half Marathon Championships, and also clocked 44:19 over a tough and hilly course in the same city for 15km. He may not be considered a favourite, he will nevertheless be waiting in the wings to pick up the pieces if anyone falters.

All in all, after an 18-month hiatus, the Absa CAPE TOWN 12K CITYRUN will once again have a top field assembled for the 2021 race on Sunday 21 November.



Date:  Sunday 21 November 2021
Start Venue:  Woodbridge Island, Milnerton
Finish Venue:  Lower Long Street, Cape Town CBD
Entry Fee:   Standard (Licensed Runner):  R 225.00Temporary License:  R 40.00

CHARITY SUPPORT:  When entering the 2021 Absa CAPE TOWN 12K CITYRUN online runners can choose to support five local charities:  Die Burger Kinderfonds, Cape of Good Hope SPCA, Cotlands, help2read and Reach for a Dream.


This article was first posted by Adnaan Mohamed on the Western Province Athletics website.