Kalmer Tipped for Grand Prix Title

by | Aug 23, 2012

Rene Kalmer pauses for a breather after completing the women’s marathon at the Mall near Buckingham Palace in a time of 2:30:51, earning a 35th place at the London 2012 Olympic Games on 5 August 2012. Photo: Wessel Oosthuizen / SA Sports Picture AgencyFresh from competing in the women’s marathon at the Olympic Games in London earlier this month, Rene Kalmer turns her attention to a shorter distance on Saturday.

Kalmer will be trying to cement her claim to a brand new Nissan Micra by winning the SPAR Women’s 10km Challenge at Supersport Park on Saturday afternoon. She won the first three races, in Cape Town, Port Elizabeth and Durban, and has an almost unassailable lead in the SPAR Grand Prix rankings.

After three races, Kalmer has 80 points – 24 ahead of her nearest rival, defending Grand Prix champion Irvette van Blerk. Kalmer and Van Blerk, both of Nedbank CGA, have dominated the Grand Prix since its inception, with two GP victories each. The only other GP winner was Poppy Mlambo in 2008.

Van Blerk, who came third in all three Challenge races so far this year, is only three points ahead of Cape Town runner Zintle Xiniwe, who has 51 points, after coming fourth in Cape Town, second in Port Elizabeth and sixth in Durban. Portia Ngwenya has 47 points, and Kalmer’s sister, Christine, has 43.

Kalmer and Van Blerk had differing experiences in the London Marathon. Kalmer ran a very good race and finished in 35th position out of 105 finishers, in a time of two hours 30.51 minutes, while Van Blerk was unable to finish because of an Achilles tendon injury. Kalmer’s confidence will be high on Saturday, and she is expected to have little difficulty in winning the Challenge.

Annie Bothma, with a win in Port Elizabeth and second place in Cape Town and Durban, leads the Grand Prix ladder in the junior category, with 13 points, with Thabisa Sirayi, who earned bonus points for winning the Durban race in record time, in second place on 10 points.

There is a close tussle in the veteran category, where just one point separates Boxer runners Ronel Thomas and Janene Carey, who have 24 and 23 points respectively.

Multiple Comrades Marathon Gold Medallist Grace de Oliveira leads the master category, with 20 points after record-breaking victories in Port Elizabeth and Durban. Olga Howard, who won the Cape Town race, but did not compete in the other two, is in second place with 10 points.

Although she did not run in Durban, evergreen RAC runner Sonja Laxton, who has 20 points, is well ahead of her nearest rival, who won the Durban race.

Nedbank CGA (131 points), whose runners took the first four places in Durban on Sunday, have a massive lead of 34 points over Boxer (97), with Bidvest CGA a distance third with 66 points.


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