2012 SPAR Grand Prix winner René Kalmer heads an impressive list of women honoured as the Top 100 Heroes for 2012, as published in the December edition of Runner’s World featuring people who use running as a powerful tool to change their lives.
“2012 has been one of my best years ever,” enthused the 2012 Olympic marathon athlete, “And I’m really grateful for the amazing support from the running community!”
Other prominent runners on the list include the legendary Zola Budd and SPAR race regulars Rene’s sister Christine Kalmer, Nolene Conrad, Irvette van Zyl and Sonja Laxton.
Media personalities featured in the list include 2012 SPAR gsport Awards Ambassador, TV and radio presenter Liezel van der Westhuizen and talkshow host Redi Tlhabi.
Van der Westhuizen, who has done many triathlons including the gruelling Ironman triathlon, said her inclusion in the list came as a pleasant surprise.
“Running isn’t a strong point with regards to my fitness, but I love taking part in various road races and meeting people along the way,” the bubbly van der Westhuizen says. “I was so excited when I found out I had made the list, especially because I am sharing the list with phenomenal athletes like Zola Budd,” she added.
Van der Westhuizen, who took up running as a youngster, says. “My dad joined a running club whilst I was in high school, and he encouraged my sister and me to start running.
“I run for myself, I set myself goals and this keeps me motivated,” she says.
She would encourage anyone to run she says. You don’t need to be as fit as she is to start running and it will improve your social life. “Running is one of the most social sports in South Africa. You don’t need to be very fast to join a running club, just find a club near you and have fun,” she advices.
Van der Westhuizen who has participated in the toughest canoe race in the world, the Ultimate Dusi Canoe Marathon, The Cape Argus Pick ’n Pay Cycle Tour and various other cycling races still has many goals she has set for herself in running but at the moment she is concentrating on only one. “I am currently training for Old Mutual Two Oceans Marathon,” she reveals.Women featured in the 2012 Runner’s World Top 100 Heroes: Landie Greyling Nolene Conrad Christine Kalmer Nicole Marais René Kalmer Kathleen Shuttleworth Sonja Laxton Liz Ruickbie Veronika van Niekerk Elaine Greenblatt Grace de Oliveira Annatjie Botes Suzette Botha Martha Pretorious Irvette van Zyl Redi Tlhabi Ursula Frans Zola Budd Charné Bosman Maya Lawrie Paulina Phaho Alison Hay Adinda Kruger Farwa Mentoor Linda Doke Sue Ullyett Sue Don Wauchope Jeannie Bomford Slindile Chili Kathy McQuaide Letshego Moshoeu Chantel Nienaber Paula Quinsee Uricka Stander Deidre Larkin Myrette Filmalter Tara Hossack Liezel van der Westhuizen Shandi Pan Kim van Kets Kerry Koen Nambitha Dambuza