Johannesburg - Distance runner Rene Kalmer became only the fourth South African woman to break the two-and-a-half hour barrier over the classic 42.2km distance, when she finished fifth at the Yokohama Marathon in Japan on Sunday.
Kalmer, running her fourth marathon, improved her personal best by nearly five minutes, crossing the line in 2:29.59.
The 31-year-old finished less than three minutes behind Ryoko Kizaki of Japan, who won the race in 2:26.32.
“This has been a tough year for me. I had great training sessions, but in the races it just never came through,” Kalmer said.
“I also struggled terribly with a knee injury throughout the year.
“I think it may have been because of the transition from track to the marathon, with the extra mileage, but I believe I am now a true marathon runner.”
Only Elana Meyer, who holds the SA record at 2:25.15, Colleen de Reuck, who now competes for the United States, and Frith van der Merwe have run faster over the marathon distance.
Kalmer’s time was the fastest by a South African woman in 12 years.