Irvette van Zyl won the 25th Old Mutual Soweto Marathon. Photo: Simphiwe Mbokazi/African News Agency (ANA)
South African women’s distance running is kicking ass at the moment and one can now say it is about time they follow the incredible legacy left by athletes like Elana Meyer and Colleen de Reuck.

Supermom Irvette van Zyl is leading the charge with some exciting new and established runners chasing her shadow.

Van Zyl's achievements five months after giving birth to her second child have been nothing but awe-inspiring as she's ripped up the road left, right and centre.

Last weekend she won the Soweto Marathon for the second consecutive year, setting a blistering 2hr 33min 43sec course record.

She chopped nearly two-and-a-half minutes off the previous record in difficult conditions and at altitude.

We can only speculate what she could have done on a fast course, but one can venture a guess that it could have been well below 2:30.

The 31-year-old has been in stunning form since she gave birth to Gideon on June 9.

Over the 10km distance at the FNB CitySurf Run in Durban last month, she came tantalisingly close to joining distance legends Meyer and De Reuck in the sub-32 minute club.

Van Zyl finished third in that race in a time of 32:06, narrowly missing out on achieving the feat.

In September, Van Zyl won two major 10km titles a day and 1400 km apart  racing to victory in Cape Town before crossing the line first at the FNB Joburg 10K CITYRUN.

She clocked the second fastest time of her career  32:48  in the 10km race at the Cape Town Marathon, before winning the FNB Joburg 10K CITYRUN title in a new course record of 33:51.

Given Van Zyl’s hot form at the moment, it is not completely unreasonable to think she will be able to have a sniff at De Reuck’s national record, given the right course on which to run.

But like with everything in life, one needs to make incremental improvements before taking giant leaps and in this case, she would first have to dip below 2:30.

On the other side of the Atlantic in at the New York Marathon, Gerda Steyn produced an equally stunning performance  posting a new personal best time of 2:31.04 for 13th place in the iconic race.

The 2018 Two Oceans Marathon champion has therefore launched herself into sixth place on the South African all-time list over the 42.2km distance.

While the 28-year-old has shown a propensity for ultra-distance running, one cannot help but feel she should perhaps take a stab at the standard marathon.

Her current form suggests she could be a strong candidate to represent South Africa at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. There is still plenty of time for her to focus on the ultras like Comrades and Two Oceans.

Glenrose Xaba, who won the 2018 SPAR Grand Prix title, has emerged as another future road running star and could grow into one of the country’s top distance runners along with Kesa Moletsane.


Saturday Star

Like us on Facebook

Follow us on Twitter