By Mark Etheridge
Olympian Rene Kalmer and prospective Olympian Irvette van Blerk continued their preparation for the 2012 Games with victory and third place respectively at Sunday’s SPAR women’s 10-kilometre race in Cape Town.
Kalmer showed little sign of weariness after her 17th senior track title at the Yellow Pages championships in Port Elizabeth on Friday where she won in 15min 55sec.
Runner-up was Zimbabwe’s Rutendo Nyahora, five seconds adrift, a distance she had basically maintained behind Kalmer for most of the race.
And Van Blerk was third in 33:32 almost a minute from fourth-placed Zintle Xiniwe (34:22), the first Western Cape athlete across the line.
Kalmer has already qualified for the Olympics courtesy of her 2:29:59, run in Japan late last year.
She’ll act as pacemaker at next week’s London Marathon where she’ll be joined by training partner Van Blerk who is hoping to run inside the 2hr 37min A standard qualifying mark.
“I was hoping to maybe run a personal best (32:28) today but when the course was described to me last night I realised it would be difficult,” said Kalmer, 31.
“It was quite a twisty, tight course, not the fastest of courses, and I was also a little worried about the cobbled/uneven sections because that seems to irritate my ITB (knee) problem.”
Looking ahead to London and she says her pace-making task requires her to take the lead pack through the halfway mark in 74min. Will she go further? “Well my contract says I can’t run further than 32km but at this stage I wouldn’t want to complete that distance,” she told Road to London 2012.
As for Van Blerk, 24, and her race ÔÇô “I just felt very flat today and couldn’t get going.” Perhaps the fact that she has been churning out the kilometres ahead of London Marathon is an explanation. “I don’t really know too much about tapering,” she grinned. “I’ve been doing weeks of┬á around 200km and even before SA 5000m on the track I did a tough session of 1000m repeats three days before the race.”
Boxer club athlete Ronel Thomas took the veteran’s category in 37:17, the 50+ category went to Olga Howard of Celtic (42:41) while the indomitable lioness of SA running, Sonja Laxton, won the 60+ division in 43:08.
A field of close to 20,000 took on the race in cool, overcast conditions with not much more than a breeze in the way of wind.
Seniors: 1 Rene Kalmer (Nedbank CGA) 32:50; 2 Rutendo Nyahora (Nedbank AGN) 32:55; 3 Irvette van Blerk (Nedbank CGA) 33:32; 4 Zintle Xiniwe (Nedbank WP) 34:22; 5 Portia Ngwenya (Transnet) 34:53; 6 Nolene Conrad (UJ) 34:56; 7 Lebogang Phalula (Gauteng Striders), 35:08; 8 Maxine Heine-Wacker (UJ) 35:11; 9 Nomvuyisi Set (Celtic) 35:16; 10 Nandipha Dynili (Bidvest CGA) 35:22
Masters: 1 Ronel Thomas 38:08; Janene Carey┬á 37:26; Cheryl de Lange 40:02
Grandmasters: 1 Olga Howard┬á 42:41 2 Annatjie Botes 44:14; Cheryl Rudolph┬á 44:31
Great Grandmasters: 1 Sonja Laxton┬á 43:08; 2 Veronica van Niekerk ; Marietha Herbert┬á 49:32
Juniors: 1 Pamela Mtshemla 38:08; 2 Annie Bothma 38:13; Amy Abrahams 39:21