Johannesburg - South Africa’s leading woman marathon runner Rene Kalmer predicts proper jostling for the three available qualifying spots for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.
Kalmer, only the fourth South African women to have dipped under 2:30 over the 42km, have been battling with a niggling hip injury since her last marathon in April.
The 34-year-old finished in sixth place at the Vienna Marathon in Austria earlier this year where she finished in 2:33.21.
“It’s been a tough year, I’ve battling with a hip injury since my marathon, a marathon is really not for sissies,” Kalmer said at the launch of the Joburg Spar Women’s Challenge on Tuesday.
“There is a lot of training going into it and afterwards you are recovering from it.”
Running in her maiden Olympic marathon in London 2012, Kalmer posted a respectable time of 2:30.51 for a 35th place finish.
She was the fastest of the South African trio with Tanith Maxwell clocking 2:40.27 to finish 81st of 118 competitors while Irvette van Zyl dropped out of the race before the halfway mark.
Kalmer believed there would be some serious competition for Rio as she believed at least four women would meet the 2:42.00 qualifying mark.
“The main goal is Rio but there are only three spots to qualify to go to Rio and thanks to Spar women’s running has been lifted,” she said.
“There will be more than six girls that is going qualify so now I have to do everything possible to make sure I am one of the three to book my seat for Rio.”
Mapaseka Makhanya has emerged as a serious contender after she finished third at the Hannover Marathon in Germany in her first international outing.
With that effort she became the fifth fastest South African woman in the marathon with her time of 2:31.02.
Lebo Phalula, the 2014 Spar Grand Prix champion, will make her debut over the classic 42km distance at the Cape Town Marathon later this month.
Ultra-distance runner Caroline Wostmann will drop down in distance following her stellar year winning Comrades and the Two Oceans.
Wostmann will be running the New York Marathon in November as she aims to also qualify for the Olympic Games.