Kalmer hails 'miracle win'

2012-05-06 15:50

Port Elizabeth - Rene Kalmer (Nedbank CGA) described her victory in the Spar Women's 10km Challenge at King's Beach on Saturday as a "miracle", after nearly pulling out of the race because of an injury.

Kalmer cruised to victory over Zintle Xiniwe (Mr Price WP) and her team-mate Irvette van Blerk to cement her position at the top of the Challenge Grand Prix log.

"I injured my hamstring on Wednesday, dicing with my sister (Christine Kalmer) on the hills," said Kalmer.

"I was in a lot of pain, and nearly withdrew from the race. Even at the start, I wasn't sure whether I would be able to finish."

Kalmer appeared to show no ill-effects from the hamstring injury or from her heroics in the London Marathon two weeks ago, where she ran as a pacemaker to help two British athletes to record qualifying times for the Olympic Games in July.

She went into the lead from about the two-kilometre mark, and although Xiniwe stuck to her like a burr for the next four kilometres, Kalmer never appeared to be in any danger of being overtaken.

With four kilometres to go along the beachfront, she steadily increased her lead and cantered home in 33.30 minutes, 31 seconds ahead of Xiniwe. Van Blerk finished in 34.15, 14 seconds behind Xiniwe.

"I just tried to run my own race, and stick to Rene, but when we turned onto the straight, she put on some speed and I just couldn't keep up," said Xiniwe.

Van Blerk, who qualified for the Olympic Games by finishing 18th in the London Marathon, said she had not had a good race.

"I've still got that marathon in my legs, and they felt very heavy," she said.

Kalmer will not be resting on her laurels. In two weeks, she travels to Japan to run a half marathon, before settling down to train for the Olympic Marathon.

She also plans to run in the third Challenge race in Durban on June 24.

"I enjoy the 10km races, and they help me with my speed for the marathons," she said.

She said running the London Marathon had been an awesome experience.

"The crowds were fantastic, and it is an amazing route. I was running with British runners, so I got extra support, but it was wonderful to see a lot of South African flags."

The elite runners start the marathon ahead of the 35 000 entrants, with the women starting before the men.

"In some ways, it is nice, because you don't get jostled, but in a way, I missed the atmosphere at the start," she said.

"It felt quite lonely, with just a handful of us. I'm used to feeding off the excitement of the crowd behind me."