The well-known saying that you cannot keep a good man down, is undoubtedly applicable to women as well. This was once again proven by Yolande Speedy (Epic Sports/USN/GT), on Saturday (14 July) in Cullinan, when she won the women’s Nissan TrailSeeker Diamond Rush marathon (70km).

This season certainly did not start off the way Speedy would have hoped for.

Just before the UCI Cross-Country World Cup in Pietermaritzburg, she crashed and broke her wrist. This meant that she was unable to compete in most of the important races. Although Speedy started off quite conservatively on Saturday, it was business as usual for her. "I just did not have good legs when we started racing. The fact that the race began on ordinary dirt roads and against a headwind, did not make things any easier," explained Speedy. "Luckily I became stronger and stronger as the race progressed. When we got to the rocky technical single-track sections, I felt in my element and was totally enjoying myself."

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Yolande Speedy - 2012 Nissan TrailSeeker Diamond Rush

Speedy's winning time was 3 hours and 8 seconds. Nicky Grobler (Bizhub) finished second in 3:02:20 and Amy McDougall was third in 3:06:51. Theresa Ralph (No Sponsor) was one of the heroic finishers in the women's marathon. She experienced one of those days when everything that could possibly go wrong, did go wrong.

After about 22 kilometers of racing, she was brought to an abrupt halt when her mountain bike's derailleur became loose and got entangled in the wheel. After quite a battle she managed to get it loose, only to discover that the derailleur was damaged beyond repair. "I had no other option but to convert my mountain bike into single speed, 'spinning' the last 48km to the finish."

Why not just quit?

"Quitting will never be an option for me. I came to Cullinan to win. After my setback I had to make a change of mindset. "I decided that all was not lost. I could still have a good, hard training ride."Ralph makes no secret that she still intends to try to win the women's Nissan TrailSeeker series overall.

"It will not be easy, because I was unable to race in Hazeldean due to illness.

"I guess my only option now is to win the last three races of the Nissan TrailSeeker series."It would help me a lot if I could find a sponsor. I want to become a full-time professional, but it is difficult to race weekend after weekend if you have to pay for everything yourself," said Ralph.

She finished second overall in the women's category of the Absa Cape Epic, won two stages in the Sani2C and won the MTN Mabalingwe Marathon.

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The women's marathon podium - 2012 Nissan TrailSeeker Diamond Rush

For more information about the upcoming races please visit www.advendurance.com

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Big5 spectator along the route - 2012 Nissan TrailSeeker Diamond Rush