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Kalmer just wants to keep on winning

Ren├® Kalmer, enjoying a golden year on the road and on the track, is hot favourite to win the Port Elizabeth Spar Women’s 10km Challenge at King’s Beach on Saturday ÔÇô and she is planning to do it in a record time, to celebrate her 20th Challenge win.

Kalmer has won the Port Elizabeth leg of the Challenge road running series seven times, following her first Challenge victory there in 1998. ÔÇ£I always enjoy racing in Port Elizabeth ÔÇô they don’t call it the Friendly City for nothing,ÔÇØ said Kalmer. ÔÇ£I love the course, and the support on the course is fantastic.ÔÇØ

ÔÇ£I’m pretty confident of winning there again this year.┬á I’ve had a fantastic season so far, and my training is going very well.┬á It will be my final race in South Africa before I go overseas to qualify for the Commonwealth Games in New Delhi later this year.┬á I’m hoping to qualify in both the 1500m and the 5000m.ÔÇØ

Kalmer, who won the Cape Town Challenge race on April 20, won both events in the South African championships in Durban earlier this month.

She also achieved her ambition of winning the Two Oceans half-marathon, to underline her versatility on road and track. However, she will not have it all her own way in the Port Elizabeth Challenge, with runners like Irvette van Blerk, Poppy Mlambo and Thozama April determined to deny her the victory.

She will also encounter some sibling rivalry. ÔÇ£My sister Christine will be running her first Challenge race since returning from the United States, where she had a scholarship at the University of Arkansas, so that could be quite a tussle,ÔÇØ laughed Kalmer.

Others who might pose a challenge include veteran runner Michele Bartman, and Zintle Xinewe. ÔÇ£I really hope the weather is good as I want to make an attempt on the record of 33:03min, which I set in 2003,ÔÇØ said Kalmer.

With the kind of season she has been enjoying, there would be few who would bet against her attaining that goal.