Irvette cruises to victory
Irvette van Blerk (Gallo Images)
Johannesburg - Irvette van Zyl (formerly Van Blerk) ended her season on a high after cruising to victory in the fifth and final leg of the Spar Women's Challenge 10km series here on Sunday.
Van Blerk, who married 400m hurdler LJ van Zyl two weeks ago, finished second overall in the Grand Prix series.
Her training partner, pre-race favourite Rene Kalmer, won the series, despite withdrawing from the final leg with an Achilles injury on the eve of the event, after securing victory in all four of the previous legs.
Having built an early lead, Van Zyl maintained her advantage throughout the race to win comfortably in 34 minutes, 34 seconds (34:34).
Rutendo Nyahora crossed the line a minute later, finishing second in 35:34, and Lebo Phalula took third in 35:43.
"I'm happy and surprised to have won today," she said.
"The plan was to hang in the bunch and then make my move at the 5km mark.
"I struggled as I got to the 4km mark and that's when I thought they were going to catch up to me.
"My leg went numb with each hill and I thought I would stretch and would feel better, but the ladies were right behind me."
Van Zyl, who withdrew from the Olympic marathon at the 17km mark with an Achilles injury, had finished third in all her other three races in the Grand Prix series, missing the penultimate leg in Pretoria due to the same injury.
She said her recovery was going well but getting back to full fitness was still a challenge.
"I'm glad about my time as it shows my fitness is coming back," she said.
"I rested for a month after the Olympics and training is a battle right now, and I'm doing a lot of catching up.
"It was a lucky race for me. I almost decided not to run, but... I pushed on."
Results of the SPAR Women’s 10km Challenge race run at Old Parktonians on Sunday:
1.Irvette van Zyl (Van Blerk) (Nedbank CGA) 34.34; 2. Rutendo Nyahora (Nedbank GN) 35.34; 3. Diana-Lebo Phalula (Mr Price CGA) 35.43; 4. Zintle Xiniwe (Mr Price WP) 35.50; 5. Christine Kalmer (Nedbank CGA) 36.15; 6. Nolene Conrand (UJ) 36.33; 7. Kim Laxton (Sunninghill) 36.42; 8. Eunice Muchizi (Art of Running) 37.11; 9. Cornelia Joubert (Nedbank CGA) 37.31; 10. Mpho Mabuza (Bonitas) 37.47
Juniors : (15-19 years)
1. Sylvia Tshetlanyane 39.17; 2. Zandile Hadebe 39.39; 3. Puseletso Dieta 40.28
Veterans: (40-49 years)
1. Janene Carey 39.28; 2. Paulina Nhapo 39.52; 3. Michelle Mee 41.52
Masters: (50-59 years)
1. Sandra Steenkamp 45.34; 2. Frances van Blerk 47.12; 3. Janine Engels 47.23
1. Sonja Laxton 46.23; 2. Annatjie Greyvenstein 52.51; 3. Rosina Sebati 57.28