Rene Kalmer secured the SPAR Grand Prix title after winning the Pretoria leg of the SPAR Women’s 10km Challenge on Saturday.
Speaking to the media shortly after the race, Kalmer said: “The race turned out totally different to what I expected. I thought it was going to be more tactical, and I was planning to run more tactically, leading the pack. I didn’t expect to win that easily today.”
“The wind was quite hard, and it was quite hot out there, and very dry, but I’m really happy for the win. I didn’t really know what to expect, having just finished the Olympic Marathon.”
Pre-race concerns that Kalmer’s performance would be inhibited by an injury that she carried through her Olympic performance didn’t turn out to be an issue on the day. “It’s much better, I must say. It’s definitely improving, and I think that the two weeks I took off really helped with the recovery,” said Kalmer after her win. “I didn’t feel it on the race, so that’s good news,” she smiled.
On being congratulated after having won the 2012 SPAR Grand Prix, Kalmer confirmed she will be aiming for her 5th SPAR 10km title when she runs the final leg of the SPAR 10km Challenge series, on 14 October in Johannesburg: “Yes, I’m very excited.
“It’s good to know I’ve got that in the bag, but the pressure’s now on me to try to make it five out of five races, because that’s never been done, so that will be my goal for Johannesburg.”
Kalmer chuckled in a lighter moment, when asked how long she had to prepare for her next race, and answered, looking at her watch: “Less than twenty-four hours,” she laughed. “We’re jetting off to Cape Town in a couple of hours, for the SA 21km Champs.”
Silver medal winner, Zimbabwe’s Rutendo Nyahora, also running in Nedbank CGA colours, said she was happy with her race, despite having a chest complaint that impacted on her performance.
Nyahora was satisfied with her overall performance, having placed second in the Pretoria race in 2011. “I have flu, but I was telling myself, ‘I want to beat her’, referring to Kalmer, but I can say I didn’t manage today, but I’m happy that I defended my medal.”
The race’s bronze medal was won by Nolene Conrad, like Kalmer also a teacher, a former Capetonian who has settled in Joburg: “My race was a bit unexpected for me, but I felt that I was in good shape, and I’m happy with my first time on the podium.”
Conrad was due to jet out to Cape Town with Kalmer for the South Africa half-marathon champs, but insisted that she would be aiming for a good finish at the final SPAR 10km Challenge in Johannesburg in October.
Kalmer has the biggest pressure on her among Saturday’s runners though, as she was flying down to Cape Town to defend her 2011 half-marathon title on Sunday.