Van Zyl close to top form ahead of Soweto Marathon title defence
JOHANNESBURG – Irvette van Zyl is slowly regaining her form in time for the defence of her Soweto Marathon title.
She proved this at the weekend when she ran a credible 34:40 to finish third in the Johannesburg leg of the Spar Women’s 10km Grand Prix Series.
That run ensured she finished as the best-placed South African and third overall in the six race Series. Only the invincible Helalia Johannes of Namibia and Ethiopia’s Tadu Naru got the better of her.
A tearful Van Zyl spoke of the joy at finally sorting out an injury that has troubled her for close on a decade thanks to an operation she had recently.
“It has been troubling me for seven years. I did not know what was happening with my left leg until someone found what was wrong and I did the operation.”
But she had to wait a while before going under the knife: “I waited for so long for the operation to happen. I had to wait during pregnancy as the doctors thought it would be too risky to do it at that time.”
While she has not fully recovered, Van Zyl is delighted to be back on the road.
“It is good to be running again although I am still not feeling well a 100 percent. The medication I have been taking is giving tough times.”
There were no signs of her being unwell on Sunday though as she raced into an early lead and set the pace for the initial two kilometres before the amazing Johannes took over.
“Helalia has been unstoppable this year setting new records wherever she runs. It has not been easy for us to compete with us, especially for me as I was recovering from the operation. But I think we ran great times, we are improving.
“Remember my operation was only three months back. But I am happy with my performance in the Johannesburg leg. I am also excited with podium finish.”
The Spar Series success has lifted her confidence for next month’s Soweto Marathon where she is not only the defending champion but also the record holder.
“Of course I would like to defend my title again this year,” she said.