“I injured my Plantar Fascia (the thick tissue on the bottom of the foot) and will have to see how it responds to treatment before making a final decision,” said Kalmer. “I started practising today after resting for two weeks.”
Kalmer was the best South African performer in the marathon at the Olympic Games last month, where she finished 35th overall in a time of 2:30:51. Her achievements in the half marathon this year include wins at all four events she competed at. On 29 January, she won the Johnson Crane Half Marathon in Benoni in 75:24. She improved the time on 7 April at the Old Mutual Two Oceans Half Marathon in Cape Town, winning the race in 75:02. After that, victory at the SA Pork Kwai Challenge on 13 May in Randburg in 76:18 and the Gifu Seiryu Half Marathon in Japan late in May in a season best time of 73:02.
Should Kalmer not recover in time for the Championships, there will be an opportunity for a new champion to step forward. Regular half marathon athlete, Irvette van Blerk, won’t compete either, due to heavy Paratendonitis, an injury to the outer layer of the tendon. Van Blerk who was one of the trio that competed at the Olympic Games in the marathon, dropped out early due to injury.
Nolene Conrad, a 3000m steeple chase athlete, will be one of the familiar faces contesting the title on Sunday. Conrad won the Sam Nujoma 21km in Namibia on 31 July. “I feel very strong after my win and look forward to the Championships. My goal is to run a personal best,” said Conrad. Her best time (74:40) was set up on 24 July 2010 at the National Championships in Port Elizabeth.
Other athletes to compete include Christine Kalmer, Mpho Mabuza, SA Marathon Champion, Charne Bosman, SA 3000m Steeplechase record holder, Tebogo Masehla, as well as Lebo Phalula, to name a few.
A total of R134 900 has been made available in prize money excluding the R50 000 for SA Records and R20 000 for World top 50 performances (1:00:36 for men and 1:09:12 for women). The winner of the half marathon, both men and women, will receive R15 000, with R10 000 going to the silver medallist and R7500 for finishing 3rd. There are also prizes available for the winning teams.
The SA Half Marathon Championships will start at 07h00 at the Cape Academy of Mathematics, Science & Technology in Firgrove Way, Constantia. The route will be a double lapper through Constantia in Cape Town, finishing at the Sport fields of Cape Academy of Mathematics, Science and Technology.