Van Blerk to defend title

2012-05-17 12:51

Cape Town - Defending Champion Irvette van Blerk has confirmed her entry to the SA 10km Championship in Kimberley on Saturday 19 May.

Van Blerk, who recently qualified for the marathon at the London Olympics, is expected to face stiff opposition from amongst other the Pahlula twins, Lebo and Lebogang. “The 10km race will be a good speed session for my marathon preparation,” said Van Blerk.

Van Blerk comfortably won the title in 2011 in 34:03 ahead of Lebo and Lebogang Phalula and plans on defending her title, looking at a time of around  34 minutes.  “The Phalula sisters and Zintle Xiniwe will be tough competition, but anything is possible on the day,” says the 24-year-old from Central Gauteng.

Van Blerk has already competed in four 10km races this year as well as four half marathons to add to her Olympic qualifier in the marathon.  She won the PWC George Claassen 10km in Pretoria on 28 January in 34:54 and finished 3rd in two Spar races in Cape Town and Port Elizabeth on 15 April and 5 May, clocking 33:32 and 34:15 respectively.

Lebo and Lebogang Phalula, runner up and 3rd place finishers in 2011, will both be competing.  The twins, also from Central Gauteng, finished behind Van Blerk in 35:01 and 35:07 respectively.  Other athletes likely to do well include Zintle Xiniwe (WPA), Nolene Conrad (CGA), Christine Kalmer (CGA) and Mpho Mabuza (CGA).

The winner of the marathon will take home R10 000 as a total of R104 900 has been made available in prize money. R7 500 will go to the silver medallist and a 4rd place finish will earn you R5000.  Further R25 000 has been made available for SA Records and R25 000 for World top 50 performances (28:03 for men and 32:09 for women).

The 10km Championships will start at 07:00 at the Diskobolos Defence Force Sport Grounds in Kimberley.