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Top finish for Nzima; Van Zyl fifth fastest

Irvette van Zyl - London

Irvette van Zyl – London

Tuesday, 23 April 2013 – Over the past weekend, Sibusiso Nzima finished sixth at his first marathon ever while Irvette van Zyl (formally Van Blerk) became the fifth fastest female marathon athlete in South African history after finishing 10th at the London Marathon.

For Sibusiso Nzima, his first ever marathon went much better than he ever could’ve anticipated as his performance exceeded his own expectations.  “My aim was to finish my first marathon, but it was never to finish in the top 10, so I am very happy with the time I ran,” said Nzima after his 2:13:42 at the Haspa marathon in Hamburg, Germany on 21 April.

“It was not difficult running the time, so now I know that I can improve it,” said Nzima about his performance.  The 26 year-old will now come back home and focus on recovering before preparations start all over again with the focus on the World Championships in Moscow as he successfully ran within the IAAF qualifying standard time of 2:17:00.  “It was my first marathon so now I need to work on improving my time.”

“I’ve been running 10km and 21km for a while so I was looking for something to challenge me again,” said Nzima about his favourite sport.  Like most athletes, he started athletics in primary school, but it was only after matric that he started to pay more attention to running.  2008 was a motivating year as he won the SA 10km Championships in Stellenbosch, followed by the SA Cross Country title the subsequent year.  “That moment was so special to me, so now I am dreaming big.”  He has also been involved in track athletics, competing in the 3000m, 5000m and 10 000m.

“Stephen Mokoka will share his experiences with me and he is so easy to approach when you need advice.  He is smart when it comes to running, so therefore he is an inspiration to me.”

Nzima will compete at the SA 10km Championships taking place on 19 May in order to work on his speed.

Meanwhile Irvette van Zyl finished 10th in the London Marathon on 21 April in a new personal best time of 2:31:26, more than two minutes faster than her performance in the same race in 2012.  With this she became the fifth fastest female in South African marathon history.  Only Elana Meyer, Colleen de Reuck, Frith van der Merwe and René Kalmer have managed to run faster than Van Blerk.  Her time is the 20th fastest in South Africa.

Rene Kalmer also recently competed in the Boston Marathon (15 April) where she finished 17th overall in 2:37:15. However her biggest priority at the moment is recovering from the injury that she obtained in the marathon. “I pulled my soleus muscle (back part of the calf) at 25km, so the last 17km of the race was extremely painful. I will have to sort that out before running another marathon,” said Kalmer.

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