SA Olympic marathon finisher and Nedbank CGA runner Rene Kalmer breaks the tape to win the 2012 SPAR Women’s 10km Challenge in a time of 34.50, at Supersport Park in Pretoria, on Saturday, 25 August, 2012. Photo: gsport

Rene Kalmer secured the SPAR Grand Prix title after winning the Pretoria leg of the SPAR Women’s 10km Challenge on Saturday.

A jubilant Kalmer celebrates her fourth win in four 2012 SPAR 10km races, a remarkable achievement just after finishing her women’s marathon at the London 2012 Olympic Games, and one day before participating in the SA Half-Marathon Championships in Cape Town. Photo: gsportKalmer, who is fresh off her Olympic participation in the marathon event, clocked a time of 34.50, ahead of her Nedbank team mate Rutendo Nyahora (35.28) and UJ’s Nolene Conrad (36.43).

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.”

The top 3 finishers in the Pretoria leg of the 2012 SPAR 10km Challenge, (from left) Rutendo Nyahora (second, running for Nedbank CGA in a time of 35.28), race winner Rene Kalmer (Nedbank CGA, 34.50) and Nolene Conrad (third, UJ, 36.43). Photo: gsportPre-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.”

The start of the 2012 SPAR 10km Challenge Pretoria leg saw a sea of orange flooding past the start of South Africa’s Most Beautiful Road Race, being encouraged on their way by Gretha Pers, who gave the overall effort a hearty thumbs-up. Photo: gsportKalmer 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.”

Some of the participants decided on a different look for the day. These two ladies decided that fancy dress was all the rage, and not at all just for the guys, for the 2012 SPAR 10km Challenge. Photo: gsportThe diminutive University of Johannesburg runner recorded her best result in a SPAR 10km Challenge in Centurion, after finishing fourth in her previous best finish in the 2011 edition. “I’m used to

[running at altitude] now,” she smiled.

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.

Most of the 27,000 runners back in Supersport Park after completing their SPAR 10km Challenge exertions, just in time for a great party atmosphere settling in. Photo: gsport

Leading Results of the SPAR Women’s 10km Challenge run at Supersport Park, Centurion on Saturday.
Open Category:
1. Rene Kalmer (Nedbank CGA) 34.50
2. Rutendo Nyahora (Nedbank CGA) 35.28
3. Nolene Conrad (UJ) 36.43
4. Poppy Mlambo (Bidvest) 36.53
5. Mpho Mabuza (Gallopers) 37.17
6. Lebo Phalula (Mr Price) 37.49
7. Myrette Filmalter (Tuks) 37.51
8. Thozama April (Transnet) 38.19
9. Christine Kalmer (Nedbank CGA) 38.23
10. Nandipha Dywili (Bidvest) 38.55
40-49 Category:
1. Belinda Hickman-Mosdel (HQH) 43.28
2. Elsabe van Heerden (Loskop) 47.55
3. Ansa Strydom (Overkruin) 50.28
50-59 Category:
1. Linda Potgieter (Magnolia) 51.02
2. Sewele Maponya (Wanderers) 52.42
3. Mmatlabe Motsei (RAC) 56.30
60-69 Category:
1. Sonja Laxton (RAC) 46.24
2. Margaret Boshoe (Sunninghill) 60.07
3. Ria Smit (Running Inn) 64.51
70+ Category:
1. Mavis Stadler (Agape) 68.54
2. Jeanette Loods (Irene) 82.10
Junior Category:
1. Olivia Labuschagne (New Balance) 40.18
2. Alicia Labuschagne (New Balance) 42.44
3. Cindy Labuschagne (New Balance) 44.55