Kalmer on track for Olympics
Johannesburg - South African marathon runner Rene Kalmer says her preparation for the London Olympics is well on track.
"I couldn't have asked for better preparation in the Olympic year so I'm very positive," Kalmer said after she won the Randburg Harriers half-marathon here on Sunday.
Kalmer confirmed she would be heading to Japan this week before she begins her final preparations for the quadrennial showpiece in July.
"Now it's just a matter of trying to stay healthy and injury free for the next two months," she said.
"I'm leaving for Japan on Tuesday. I'm running a half-marathon there.
"Then I'll come back and the serious marathon training will start."
The 31-year-old said it was a relief to be able to plan her schedule in advance after setting the Olympic qualifying standard with a personal best time of two hours, 29 minutes, 59 seconds (2:29.59) in Yokohama in November.
"I'm really glad I qualified last year already," she said.
"It really took a lot of pressure off me and now I can just focus on my training and the Olympics.
"I didn't have that stress to qualify, and I can really enjoy the Olympic year the second time round.
"Last time, before the previous Olympics, I qualified a week before the cut-off [in the 1 500m], so this time it's just been so amazing to enjoy the support."
Kalmer said she had picked up valuable experience of the conditions in the English capital when she ran the London Marathon as a pacemaker last month.
"That was an awesome experience.
"It was kind of a dress rehearsal for the London Olympics and I also got a chance to see the course so it was really a good outing to London." With the unpredictable 42km distance offering perhaps the best chance for an upset at the Games, Kalmer would not rule out a podium finish.
"It's difficult to say. It's not an easy course," she said.
"We run four laps and there are a lot of twists and turns.
"I think it's going to be a tactical race and my aim is to stick with the leaders as long as possible, hopefully for 42km."
Kalmer set a new course record in Randburg at the weekend, clocking 1:16:16 to finish ahead of Olympic team-mate Irvette van Blerk.
"Breaking the course record here is definitely a surprise and it was just nice running and supporting some local events," she said.
"I stay only 20 minutes from here and the support on the route was good, so it was nice to use this as a training run."