Saturday Star - - SPORT -­il­


SOUTH African women’s dis­tance run­ning is kick­ing ass at the mo­ment and one can now say it is about time they fol­low the in­cred­i­ble legacy left by ath­letes like Elana Meyer and Colleen de Reuck.

Supermom Irvette van Zyl is lead­ing the charge with some ex­cit­ing new and es­tab­lished run­ners chas­ing her shadow.

Van Zyl’s achieve­ments five months af­ter giv­ing birth to her sec­ond child have been noth­ing but awe-in­spir­ing as she’s ripped up the road left, right and cen­tre.

Last week­end she won the Soweto Marathon for the sec­ond con­sec­u­tive year, set­ting a blis­ter­ing 2hr 33min 43sec course record.

She chopped nearly two-anda-half min­utes off the pre­vi­ous record in dif­fi­cult con­di­tions and at al­ti­tude.

We can only spec­u­late what she could have done on a fast course, but one can ven­ture a guess that it could have been well below 2:30.

The 31-year-old has been in stun­ning form since she gave birth to Gideon on June 9.

Over the 10km dis­tance at the FNB Ci­ty­surf Run in Dur­ban last month, she came tan­ta­lis­ingly close to join­ing dis­tance le­gends Meyer and De Reuck in the sub-32 minute club.

Van Zyl fin­ished third in that race in a time of 32:06, nar­rowly miss­ing out on achiev­ing the feat.

In Septem­ber, Van Zyl won two ma­jor 10km ti­tles a day and 1400 km apart – rac­ing to vic­tory in Cape Town be­fore cross­ing the line first at the FNB Joburg 10K CITYRUN.

She clocked the sec­ond fastest time of her ca­reer – 32:48 – in the 10km race at the Cape Town Marathon, be­fore win­ning the FNB Joburg 10K CITYRUN ti­tle in a new course record of 33:51.

Given Van Zyl’s hot form at the mo­ment, it is not com­pletely un­rea­son­able to think she will be able to have a sniff at De Reuck’s na­tional record, given the right course on which to run.

But like with ev­ery­thing in life, one needs to make in­cre­men­tal im­prove­ments be­fore tak­ing gi­ant leaps and in this case, she would first have to dip below 2:30.

On the other side of the At­lantic in at the New York Marathon, Gerda Steyn pro­duced an equally stun­ning per­for­mance – post­ing a new per­sonal best time of 2:31.04 for 13th place in the iconic race.

The 2018 Two Oceans Marathon cham­pion has there­fore launched her­self into sixth place on the South African all-time list over the 42.2km dis­tance.

While the 28-year-old has shown a propen­sity for ul­tra­dis­tance run­ning, one can­not help but feel she should per­haps take a stab at the stan­dard marathon.

Her cur­rent form sug­gests she could be a strong can­di­date to rep­re­sent South Africa at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. There is still plenty of time for her to fo­cus on the ul­tras like Com­rades and Two Oceans.

Glen­rose Xaba, who won the 2018 SPAR Grand Prix ti­tle, has emerged as an­other fu­ture road run­ning star and could grow into one of the coun­try’s top dis­tance run­ners along with Kesa Mo­let­sane.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.