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Rene Kalmer continued her winning streak, capturing the Spar Women’s 10km Challenge in Durban yesterday. The 31-year-old finished in 33:23.
“I’m very happy, especially after last year’s disappointment when I had to pull out because of an ITB injury (knee problem),” said the Nedbank CGA member who has won all the races she has taken part in this year.
“I’m really glad that I came back this year to win the race. It’s also good going to the Olympic Games. It gives me a lot of confidence.’’
She failed to better last year’s 32:50, but that didn’t dent her chances of driving away with the grand prize, a new Nissan Micra.
Kalmer, the Spar Grand Prix winner in 2007 and 2009, got 20 points for finishing first. She is now leading the pack with 80 points.
The athlete who took part in last month’s Japan Half Marathon and won it, dismissed speculation that she had already won the Grand Prix prize.
“I don’t want to get too excited, because there are still two races to go. I’ll only start celebrating after the Johannesburg race,” laughed Kalmer.
The Spar Women’s 10km Challenge is part of the Kalmer’s preparations for the London Olympics next month.
“This race is good preparation for the Olympics. The preparations are going well so far. We have an intensive training schedule,” said Kalmer, who’ll be at the Olympics for the second time.
Zimbabwean Ruthendo Nyahora finished second in 33:25. “I had a tough race. The first kilometre was difficult for me,” said Nyahora, who doesn’t qualify for the Spar Grand Prix, because she’s not South African.
Reigning champion Irvette Van Blerk, who finished third in 34:39, said it was a tough race. “I had a bad day,” admitted the 24-year-old who won the Grand Prix twice (2010 and 2011). Van Blerk earned 19 points for finishing third. She now has 55 points in total.
The Durban Challenge is the oldest of the five Challenge races.
About 15045 participants registered for this year’s race. The next race is on August 25 in Pretoria.