Marathon runner, Irvette van Zyl, has thanked South Africa for supporting her Olympic Games participation as she was not able to complete the women’s marathon race on Saturday, 7 August 2021.
Van Zyl took to Instagram to explain, saying: “To put in short I am disappointed. My body failed me. My mind and heart was ready but my body had a complete shutdown, don’t know why or what happened. I failed and I failed miserable.
“I tried staying comfortable and in control, just couldn’t get my rhythm and I started cramping so bad at 19km and took a forced nap at around 23km and ended up in the medical tent.
“I am sore, my heart is broken and I have so many unanswered questions. To why? How much can one athlete endure. I am broken. I am leaving Sapporo with a heavy heart and in tears.
“Thank you for all the support. Really appreciate each and every one.”
The 34-year-old competed in her third Olympic Games and can be proud of her achievement.
Ultramarathon athlete, Gerda Steyn, was also part of the women’s marathon finishing15th place in a time of 2:32:10 (+4:50).
“Thank you everyone! I am lost for words! I can only say that I am humbled and I hope that you enjoyed the race. I am really happy with the results finishing 15th today and I can’t wait to get celebrating with all of you who supported me and cheered me o from afar.
“It was a life changing experience, regardless how tough it was and I have never had so much support and encouragement like I had lining up for this race and so I take back my words because WE are an Olympian.
“A huge congratulation to everyone but today was all about the winners!” Steyn concluded.
Thank you for all your support, South Africa. @gerdarun felt it ❤️🇿🇦👏
Congratulations on your 15th place finish in the Women’s Marathon.
— Team South Africa (@TeamSA2024) August 7, 2021
Photo 1 Caption: 50km ultramarathon record holder, Irvette van Zyl, was forced out of the women’s marathon at the Olympic Games due to fitness struggles. Photo: Irvette van Zyl (Instagram)