Rene's juggling job | SASCOC - SASCOC

Rene’s juggling job

She’s truly Ms Versatility when it comes to South African athletics, having represented her country in all three disciplines of track, road and cross-country.

And, writes Mark Etheridge, Rene Kalmer’s juggling act will continue over the next few months.

On Saturday the West Rand athlete placed 22nd in the African Cross-Country Championships in Cape Town. Her next big challenge will be the World Cross-Country Championships in Spain on 20 March.

But before then she’s got the small matter of swopping her cross-country shoes for track shoes when she lines up for the Yellow Pages Series meeting at the Bellville Stadium.

After the cross-country championships its back to the track for the South African Championships, this year in Durban. And if that wasn’t enough she also has a programme for Prague! The Czech Republic capital is where the 30-year-old will make her international marathon debut.

She won her debut standard marathon, conquering the daunting Soweto Marathon course in 2009 for a 2hr 44min 06sec victory. Ideally the cherry on the top of her marathon wishes would be a spot on Team SA for the 2012 Olympics in London, although there’s no guarantee at this stage of just what that final team will look like.

So how does she juggle her life? “That’s why I decided to run a marathon in May and not April,” she said on Tuesday. “I’m doing high mileage at the moment so marathon training comes first. I’ll do Thursday’s Yellow Pages on Thursday for some speed training and hopefully the cross-country will make me stronger as well.”

Kalmer will have the SA nationals in the back of her mind on Thursday as she’s defending SA champion over that distance.

On the cross-country and Kalmer will be the first to admit to struggling in unseasonally humid conditions in Rondebosch on Sunday. “It was really hot and I also, the last time I ran a national cross-country event in South Africa was back in 2006. At the moment I’d definitely say I’m a road athlete first, track second and cross-country third.”