Johannesburg - Long distance runner Rene Kalmer hopes to improve her personal best time when she and Stephen Mokoka lead the South African charge at the World Half Marathon Championships in Kavarna, Bulgaria, on Saturday.
Kalmer set her career record of 1:10:13 when she finished sixth at the Great North Run in Newcastle, England, last month.
"I have trained really hard for the event and hope that the training will pay off this weekend," Kalmer said ahead of the SA team's departure.
"The course is going to be challenging. We do four laps of 5km loops, and the goal is to keep focus lap for lap.
"I'm going to try my best to dip below 70 minutes for the half-marathon.
"I would also like to improve on my 15th position at the world half champs in 2009 in Birmingham."
Kalmer has been in solid form this year, having won the national half-marathon title in August.
She also finished 35th in the women's marathon at the London Olympic Games, clocking 2:30:51 and missing her personal best by only 52 seconds.
On her return from Bulgaria, Kalmer will compete in the fifth and final leg of the Spar Women's Challenge as she looks to secure a cleansweep in the 10km series.
"I definitely want to try and win it and make it five wins out of five for the Spar series this year," she said.
"I know it is going to be tough after a half-marathon, and travelling back from Bulgaria, but I'm ready to give it my all."
The SA team for the global 21km championships consists of three men and three women, who were the top three finishers at the SA Half-Marathon Championships in Cape Town.
Mokoka is joined by Lucky Mohale and Gladwin Mzazi in the men's race, while Kalmer lines up with her younger sister, Christine, and Nolene Conrad.
"It is very special for me that Christine also made the team," Kalmer said.
"She really helped me a lot with my Olympic preparations and I'm thrilled that her hard work is also paying off."