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Kalmer backs Irvette

By Mark Etheridge

Already qualified for the marathon at the London Olympics later this year Rene Kalmer has backed training partner Irvette van Blerk to follow her lead and also qualify at Sunday’s London Marathon.

Kalmer won Sunday’s Spar Women’s 10km race at Green Point with Van Blerk not far back in third spot.

And Kalmer, at 31 a veteran of the road running scene and a 2008 Olympian, is well qualified to comment on her 24-year-old friend and training partner.

“I think Irvette has a very good chance of qualifying for the games. She just shouldn’t put any pressure on herself and stick to her game plan. I think her goal for the race will be to run an Olympic qualifier and not a crazy fast time,” Kalmer told Road to London 2012 on Tuesday.

To do that she’ll have to run 2hr 37min or faster to nail down her spot. And this in her debut marathon. She started last year’s Soweto Marathon but had a fall at the start and didn’t complete the race, pulling out with less than 5km to run.

“I think it will also help Irvette that I’m with her in London, to calm her nerves and just to share my experience,” said Kalmer who is doing pace-making duties in London to help some of the British elite runners qualify for the Games.

Making things more exciting for our marathon prospects are that Tanith Maxwell also qualified for the Games.

She ran 2:36.47 to place 13th in the Rotterdam Marathon in the Netherlands on Sunday.

“I’m also very excited that Tanith qualified yesterday at Rotterdam. If Irvette does her part it could be the first time in history that SA is sending a full women’s marathon team to the Olympics.”

Wearing bib number F7 Maxwell went through 15km in 53:40 and the half-way point in 76:22.