London - Despite finishing down the field in 35th position, Rene Kalmer clocked a respectable time, just falling short of her personal best in the women's marathon at the London Olympics on Sunday.
Kalmer, the fastest of the SA trio heading into the race, produced a stellar first half, going through the 21km mark just 10 seconds behind the race leaders in one hour, 13 minutes, 23 seconds (1:13:23).
And while she slowed in the second half, she held on to finish the race in 2:30.51 - 52 seconds slower than her career record.
The other South Africans in the race struggled in humid conditions, with Tanith Maxwell trailing home in 2:40.27 to finish 81st of 118 competitors.
“The crowd noise on the shorter first lap was unbelievable," Maxwell said.
"I couldn’t even hear my shoes touch the ground. I was very emotional and it seemed to drain me."
Irvette van Blerk, running only her second marathon, dropped out the race before the halfway mark with a niggling Achilles injury.
Ethiopian Tiki Gelana won a sprint finish to clinch gold in an Olympic record of 2:23:07.
Kenyan Priscah Jeptoo took silver in 2:23:12 and Russian Tatyana Petrova Arkhipova grabbed bronze in 2:23:29.