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Debut for Kalmer

Track, road and cross-country star Rene Kalmer will line-up for her first crack at the standard distance marathon (42.2km), at the Nedbank Soweto Marathon on Sunday.

An ASA report says that Kalmer, who has won just about everything in junior and senior 1500m and 10km road racing, has decided that there are now far bigger fish to fry. At the tender age of 28, she has already reached the highest point in her middle distance career being her debut in the Beijing Olympics’ 1,500 metre last year.

Like pretty much everything that this former school teacher has tackled, she has come of age. Rene was part of the national team that won sixth place in the recent IAAF World Half Marathon Championships in Birmingham, England where she finished a credible 15 overall in 70 minutes 34 seconds, reducing her personal best by 81 seconds.

Having run in typical English drizzly weather in Birmingham, the Roodepoort lass stayed on another two weeks in cold London for what can be described as the ultimate sacrifice for a South African, culminating in a fourth place in the Great South Portsmouth 10 miler on Sunday clocking 55:11.

Speaking just before she boarded the flight for home, she described her race as tough but satisfying. ÔÇ£I was heading for the podium but I got passed by Australian, Benita Johnson in the last kilometre. I went through 10km in 33:13 minutes but lost a lot of time running the last 2 miles into a nasty head wind. What made my performance even more satisfying was that I finished in front of Catherine Ndereba from Kenya,ÔÇØ she enthused.

No doubt the R100,000 on offer for the first women across the line was one of the motivating factors behind her decision to move up to the standard distance, but being a professional; one would expect nothing less.

ÔÇ£I have run two RAC Tough Ones (32km) and won last year. I have also done two long runs over 35 kilometres and I felt good. So, everything is looking promising for Sunday. I would like a tactical race, with my track based speed, I should be able to compete with all the girls whom I have competed against many times before,ÔÇØ she said.

Late entries for the race are being accepted on Saturday from 9am till 197pm at MTN expo centre (Nasrec).