Johannesburg – Winner of the 2012 Spar Grand Prix Series, Southern Africa's top female road runner Rene Kalmer is now looking ahead to next year's IAAF World Champions in Russia.
“I have already qualified for the World Champs Marathon in Moscow next August, so hopefully if everything goes well and I stay injury free, I’ll be representing SA at the World Champs as well,” Kalmer said in Johannesburg on Wednesday.
“I will use the next Grand Prix Series to keep fit and motivated throughout the year as its helps to set the stage for world class events.”
Kalmer, who won a Nissan Micra for her achievements in this year's Grand Prix Series, represented South Africa in the women's marathon at the London Olympics in July, where she finished 35th.
In October, she came 16th at the IAAF World Half-Marathon Championships in Bulgaria and took the titles at the SA Half-Marathon National Championships as well as the Two Oceans Marathon in Cape Town.
“2012 has been a great and amazing year for me,” she said.
“Winning the Grand Prix Series and taking part in the Olympics Games have been great highlights for me this year.”
It was 32-year-old's third Grand Prix Series win, finishing top of the leader board with a total of 110 points.
“It has always been my dream to win a car. When I heard that this year’s prize was a car, I made up my mind that I was going to be the one to take that car home.”
After winning races in Cape Town, Port Elizabeth, Durban and Pretoria, an Achilles injury forced her to drop out of the final race in Johannesburg, shattering her dreams of being the only women to win all five races.
“I was bitterly disappointed that I couldn’t run, but at least I had made sure of my position on the Grand Prix ladder,” Kalmer said.
Meanwhile 2010 and 2011 Grand Prix winner Irvette van Zyl (formerly Van Blerk), who won the Johannesburg race to clinch second place in the series, with 74 points, said she was happy to be injury free and is looking ahead to a better year.
“It wasn’t my greatest year with all my injuries, but I have been doing well in training and looking forward to next season,” Van Zyl said. – Sapa