DURBAN, SOUTH AFRICA - JUNE 19, Irvette van Blerk (Nedbank) wins the Spar women 10km Challenge at the Moses Mabhida Stadium on June 19, 2011 in Durban, South Africa Photo by Reg Caldecott / Gallo Images

Olympic-bound Irvette van Blerk hopes to break her Port Elizabeth hoodoo when the Spar Women's Challenge moves to the Windy City on Saturday.

Van Blerk, who finished 18th in the London Marathon in April to qualify for the Olympic Games, was runner-up in Port Elizabeth last year.

“I've never won the Port Elizabeth Challenge,” said the defending Spar Grand Prix champion.

“I always seem to finish second or worse.

“I'm not too keen on the route – it's a bit flat for me, and if the wind is strong, I really battle in those last four kilometres.

“But I'm feeling good and my training has been going well.

“I'm also looking forward to running a shorter race, after the London Marathon.”

National 5 000 metres champion Rene Kalmer, who has also qualified for the Olympic marathon, will line-up as favourite.

Kalmer, in fine form this season, won the opening leg of the series in Cape Town last month.

Zimbabwean Rutendo Nyahora, and twin sisters Lebo Ä the defending champion Ä and Lebogang Phalula are also expected to put up a challenge. – Sapa