From: Central Gauteng
Personal best: 2:33.41 (London, 22 April 2012)
Season best: 2:33.41 (London, 22 April 2012)
South Africa will have a full contingent at the Olympic Games in London in the women’s marathon, as three female athletes qualified. Irvette van Blerk is one of those chosen to represent the country on 5 August.
First Olympic Games
Irvette Van Blerk ran her very first marathon on 22 April in London and dipped under the 2:37:00 qualifying time required to compete at the Olympic Games. Van Blerk had been a half marathon specialist before the transition to the marathon. The Olympic Games will be her biggest event to date.
She represented South Africa at the World Half Marathon Championships in 2010 in Nanning, China, where she finished 49th.
10km races served as preparation for the longer distanced races. The SA 10km Champion won two of her seven 10km races this season while she finished third in three others.
She won the Dis-Chem half marathon in Bedfordview on 15 January but finished second in both the Johnson Crane Half-Marathon at the end of January and the Cape Town Half Marathon on 7 April. Van Blerk ran her best time of the season at the New York City Half Marathon on 18 March, finishing 18th in 72:36
On 22 April she finished 18th in the London Marathon, crossing the line in 2:33:41 to qualify for the Olympic Games.
Back in time
Van Blerk started her professional athletics career with track and field in 2001 and added Cross Country in 2003. In 2004 she won her very first 10km race and entered her first half marathon, which she also won. Van Blerk still holds the SA Junior Women’s 15km record set up on 17 November 2002 in the Netherlands.
“To run my own race and run as hard as I can in the second half of the race. Just to be part of such a huge sporting event is already a dream come true.”
Women’s marathon: 5 August at 11:00