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Van Blerk qualifies in London

Rene Kalmer and Irvette van Blerk London Bound

Rene Kalmer and Irvette van Blerk London Bound

When Irvette van Blerk crossed the line in 2:33.41 at the London Marathon on Sunday 22 April, 2012, she not only qualified for the Olympic Games, but also ensured that South Africa will be sending a three strong team in both the men’s and women’s races. This will be first time that South Africa sends a full complement in both the men’s and women’s team for the marathon.

“We are delighted about Irvette’s run today in London,” said Athletics SA President, James Evans from Seregno, Italy where he attended an IAU Congress. “With her qualification, we are for the first time sending a 3 men and 3 women to an Olympics. In fact this will be the first time in the history of South African athletics that there are three women representing South Africa at an Olympic Marathon. It shows that we are entering a new era of women’s long distance running and the future is looking very promising.”

Van Blerk started off conservatively in what is effectively her debut marathon. The 24 year-old had started the Soweto Marathon in 2011 but was forced to pull after a bad fall within the first 5km of the race. Van Blerk clocked 17:27 at 5km, 35:24 for 10km and went through halfway in 75:18 – running well within herself.

Van Blerk found herself in 15th position by 35km but fell back to 18th when she crossed the line. Van Blerk now joins Rene Kalmer (2:29.59 – Yokohama 2011) and Tanith Maxwell (2:36.57 – Rotterdam) in the team.

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