Kalmer returns to shorter distances

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Johannesburg – Olympic marathon runner Rene Kalmer will turn her attention to a shorter distance in the Spar Women's 10km Challenge in Centurion on Saturday.

The two-time Grand Prix winner has an almost unassailable lead in the Grand Prix rankings, winning the first three races in Cape Town, Port Elizabeth, and Durban.

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Olympic marathon runner Rene Kalmer will turn her attention to a shorter distance in the Spar Women's 10km Challenge in Centurion.

Kalmer will have a busy weekend ahead of her as she will also be defending her SA half-marathon title in Cape Town on Sunday.

It was reported earlier that she could miss the half-marathon championships, but Kalmer said she started training again on Tuesday.

After three races in the Grand Prix series Kalmer has 80 points – 24 ahead of her nearest rival and Olympic marathon team-mate, Irvette van Blerk, who won the overall title in 2010 and 2011.

“I'm not getting excited yet because there are still two more races left,” Kalmer said on Wednesday.

“I also have to be realistic as there is still a marathon in me.”

Kalmer and Van Blerk, both of Nedbank CGA, have dominated the Grand Prix since its inception, with two GP victories each. The only other GP winner was Poppy Mlambo in 2008.

Van Blerk, who came third in all three challenge races so far this year, is only three points ahead of Cape Town runner Zintle Xiniwe, who has 51 points.

Xiniwe finished fourth in Cape Town, second in Port Elizabeth, and sixth in Durban, while Portia Ngwenya had 47 points and Kalmer's sister Christine was on 43.

Van Blerk and Kalmer had differing experiences in the London Marathon.

Kalmer ran a solid race finishing in 35th position out of 105

finishers in a time of two hours 30.51 minutes, while Van Blerk could not finish due to an achilles tendon injury.

Annie Bothma, with a win in Port Elizabeth and second place in Cape Town and Durban, leads the Grand Prix ladder in the junior category with 13 points.

Thabisa Sirayi, who earned bonus points for winning the Durban race in record time, is in second place on 10 points.

There is a close tussle in the veteran category where just one point separates Ronel Thomas and Janene Carey, who have 24 and 23

points respectively.

Multiple Comrades Marathon gold medallist Grace de Oliveira leads the master category with 20 points after record-breaking victories in Port Elizabeth and Durban. – Sapa

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