With less than three kilometers left in the race, Ethiopian Tadu Nare reacted as if she had been punched in the gut on Saturday morning after she missed the water at the last refresh station during the third round of the 10km Spar Grand Prix series in Mbombele. .
Luckily for Nare, her Nedbank Running Club teammate Helalia Johannes of Namibia shared a much-needed sachet as they hit the bottom of a monster climb on the undulating track.
And while Johannes later claimed she had no regrets about her sporting act, it was hard to swallow as she watched Nare fall into the water before taking the late sprint lead to a landslide victory in 32:43.
“If my teammate is by my side and she needs water, I will help,” said Johannes, 41, who recovered in time to compete after falling ill and being hospitalized last week.
“I cannot see my comrades on the run as my enemies. I always see them as my friends.”
Despite her diplomatic response, Johannes fell behind Nare and took first place in the Women’s Road Running Grand Prix standings midway through the six-stage campaign.
She finished second at the first Mbombela race in 33:02, while Ethiopian teenager Selam Gebre finished third in 33:12.
Glenrose Khaba, the first South African to cross the finish line, deflected a challenge from Kesa Molotsane to finish fourth in 33:37.