The beachfront turned into a sea of orange t-shirts, as a record number of 12 200 runners took part in the race, which was run in cool, sunny conditions, with very little wind for the front runners.
Kalmer crossed the finishing line in 33.30 minutes, well ahead of Zintle Xiniwe (Mr Price) in 34.01, with Irvette van Blerk (Nedbank CGA) third in 34.15. Showing no ill-effects after helping two British athletes achieve Olympic Games qualifying times in the London Marathon two weeks ago, Kalmer took charge of the race after the first two kilometres. Xiniwe stuck to her for the first six kilometres, but began to lag behind on the final four kilometres run along the beachfront.
Kalmer appeared relaxed, but said she had thought of pulling out of the race after picking up a hamstring niggle while training. “When I started the race, I really wasn’t sure if I was going to be able to finish,” she said. “But now I’m really pleased that I ran. I just wanted to do a good time, and use this as part of my training for the Olympic Games.”
Xiniwe said she was happy that she had performed better than in Cape Town, where she finished fourth. “I decided I was just going to run my own race,” she said. “I tried to stick to Rene, but then during those last four kilometres, she put on some speed and I couldn’t keep up.”
Van Blerk, who qualified for the Olympic Games in the London Marathon last month, said she was still feeling the after-effects. “The Marathon is still in my legs and they felt very heavy,” she said. “I didn’t have a great run. Those last four kilometres were hard, but I managed to speed up because I didn’t want Maxine (Heine-Wacker, who finished fourth) to beat me.” Heine-Wacker finished 14 seconds behind Van Blerk, with Christine Kalmer five seconds behind her.
Ronel Thomas won the veteran’s race in 37.51 minutes, while Comrades gold medallist Grace de Oliviera won the masters category in 42.23. Sonja Laxton, running in her 74th SPAR Challenge race, was the first grandmaster home, finishing in 43.19. Annie Bothma of Helderberg Harriers showed she might be a star of the future, winning the junior category in 39.05.