Top 10 for Irvette | SASCOC - SASCOC

Top 10 for Irvette

By Mark Etheridge

Temperatures may have been just above freezing but South Africa’s Irvette van Blerk showed some red-hot racing form to run a personal best time at the New York City half-marathon in the United States on Sunday.

Some 10,000 athletes finished the race, won by Kenyan Caroline Rotich in 68min 52sec and Van Blerk was a top-10 finisher in 70min 56sec.

She’s now only the fourth South African woman to run quicker than 71min, putting her in the elite company of former world champion Elana Meyer (66:44), Colleen de Reuck, now living in the US herself (68:38) and training partner Rene Kalmer (70:37).

Her previous best for the 21.1 kilometre distance was the 71:09 she ran in winning the South African half-marathon championships in Port Elizabeth in 2010.

On Sunday she was ninth woman home and 60th overall. En route to her great finish she clocked a 5km split of 16:40, went through 10km in 34:07 and then 15km in 50:41.

The race was run from Central Park to downtown New York and, coming from the demands of a hot South African summer, Van Blerk was, well, caught cold!

“It was bitterly cold and for the first 10km I could almost not feel my legs. That meant I started a bit slower than I had planned but over the last 5km I started defrosting and started getting quicker,” said the 23-year-old Krugersdorp runner, who won $600 in prize money (first prize was $20,000).

“When I came around the last bend and saw I was going to run a personal best I just gave it my all.”