The senior women’s and men’s 10km usually sets the tone for the South African Cross Country Championships and this year should be no different. With Glenrose Xaba from Mpumalanga Athletics looking to defend her title in the women’s race, it definitely makes it a race to look forward to. Nonetheless, let’s have a look at nine other women who will make it very difficult for her to defend her title.

Liziwe Mabona (AGN), Thembi Baloyi (AGN), Cornelia Joubert (CGA), Keneilwe Sesing (CGA) Makhosi Mhlongo (KZN), Janet Dlamini (KZN), Bulelwa Semae (WP), Cherise Sims (EPA) and Kesa Moletsane (AFS) all possess the abilities to win the women’s 10km race! Ten athletes with the goal of taking the gold that only one can get! Who will it be? Will it be Liziwe Mabona from Athletics Gauteng North who recently took the gold at the Southern Region 21km championships? Or will Thembi Baloyi’s World Student Cross Country Championships’ experience give her the needed advantage? What about Cornelia Joubert’s national colours?

Could her international experience give her an edge over her competitors? Do the KZN-pair, Makhosi Mhlongo and Janet Dlamini, have the prowess to take the title back to their province or does the comeback-queen Kesa Moletsane have plans to store the gold medal in her Freestate home? I am pretty sure Keneilwe Sesing and Cherise Sims, who both represented the country just a few months ago, have different answers to all of the above questions: “ladies, this is a Sesing or Sims title, it’s all in the surname that starts with an S”.

The defending champion, Glenrose Xaba, has been showing great form and seems to be ready for anything coming her way. But does she have the Big Match Temperament (BMT) to defend her title or will her nine compatriots’ ideas and tactics of dethroning her work out perfectly on race day? Come get answers to all these questions on Saturday 10 September 2016 in Pacaltsdorp, George. See you there!