JOHANNESBURG – It should have happened two years ago. But there was no way Rene Kalmer was going to leave her new bundle of joy - born 10 days earlier.
Last year, with her daughter Karli a year old, a hip injury put paid to her dreams of making the graduation. On Saturday, it will finally happen. And not even the fact that her training has not gone according to plan will stop her.
“I tore my hamstring in January and three weeks ago it was my calf that got torn. But I am okay now, and I am not going to postpone it any longer. I am afraid that if I wait to be fully fit and have a perfect training then other things might just come up and stop me from finally running the world’s most beautiful marathon.”
Kalmer is going to run the Old Mutual Two Oceans Marathon ultra (56km) for the first time this year, having completed nine half marathons and won one of the famous Mother City races.
Ordinarily, she would be thinking of chasing for glory. But the reality is that she is not in the greatest of shapes and so she will use Saturday to gain experience and celebrate not only her long illustrious career but the 50th running of the race as well.
“I am just grateful that I am able to start this weekend. And I am realistic about my chances. I am not putting any pressure on myself. This is going to be a celebration of a career that has been long. I am just going there to try and test myself and to enjoy the world’s most beautiful marathon while gaining valuable experience.”
A star of the track as well as half and full marathons, the athlete from Roodepoort is quick to acknowledge that ultras are a different kettle of fish. She made the jump last month by running the 50km Om Die Dam race in which she finished fifth in a time of 3:40 even though it was more of a training run.
“It is a totally different ball game. My sister, Christine, ran Two Oceans last year. We were supposed to make the debut together. She was running great until she got to Constantia (Nek). So she has told me not to race. She said to me ‘hold back, hold back, hold back’.”
Kalmer admits to being a little frightened by the prospect of tackling the notorious hill that comes just after the marathon mark.
“Houtbaai and Constantia Nek has been haunting me. I am afraid it is going to be worse than expected. But I will be taking it easy as possible there.”
And yet she has some memories from way back that has her excited that she will finally be doing the race. “From a young age we used to get up to watch the race and I remember seeing the likes of Sarah Mahlangu and Frith Van der Merwe and thinking to myself, I would love to do that one day.”
That ‘one day’ is just three sleeps away and Kalmer will finally get to run the Two Oceans ultra, half fit as she is.
“It has been long overdue,” she says.@Tshiliboy