Irvette van Zyl in action during a race. Photo: Stephen Granger/Independent Media

JOHANNESBURG - In 2014, Irvette van Zyl stood at the start of the Sanlam Cape Town Marathon with the hope of conquering the 42km course, but that hope faded when she was forced to quit at 33kms.

“There were stairs at around 33km of the route and my knees just couldn’t handle them," said Van Zyl, who is one of the favourite local runners who will be taking part at the Cape Town race on 17 September

With this year’s route different from the 2014 one, Van Zyl said she’s hoping to finish in the top three.

“I’ve seen the route and it looks different and faster than it was when I was running in 2014,” said the Nedbank Running Club member about the flat route that circles Green Point Urban Park and Biodiversity Garden.

The 30-year-old is one of the top runners who will be representing South Africa at the gold-status marathon.

“The competition will be tougher than it was three years ago. It will be good to do sub-3. I’ll be running my own race and focusing on myself,” said Van Zyl who will be running alongside the likes of Lebogang Phalula, who finished third in 2:38:00 last year, Cornelia Joubert and veteran marathoner Tanith Maxwell.

“My focus is not really on time. I’m not aiming for a big time, but I’d love to do well. I’d be happy to finish in the top three. Let’s hope my legs will still be fresh to carry me with 10km left,” Van Zyl, whose personal best is 2:31:26, continued

After an injury made her to nearly quit road running, Van Zyl said she’s recovering well.

“Well, I’m not as ready as I would’ve liked, but I’m impressed with how my body is feeling now. My mind is also strong, which is important,” she said.

Van Zyl said she was committed to doing the 42.2km race and there’s no way she is going to pull out.

“I’ve been cross training a lot. The running isn’t where it should be but I’ve committed to Cape Town marathon. I can’t pull out of it. I’m going to do my best.”

The Star

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