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Rene plots next move

By Mark Etheridge

Having done the hard yards and achieved the qualifying standard for the marathon at this year’s World Championships in South Korea, Rene Kalmer is taking it easy for the next few days while she contemplates her immediate future.

The multi-talented athlete ran her first international marathon on Sunday, the Prague Marathon in the Czech Republic and clocked 2hr 34min 47sec, good for fifth spot. That’s comfortably within the 2:43 qualifying time as laid down by world athletics governing body, the IAAF.

Still, Kalmer would have been hoping for something a bit quicker. Certainly her form for the first few months of 2011 has been remarkable. But two recent setbacks have slowed her progress.

First she was plagued by knee problems (ITB) in her attempted defence of the Two Oceans half-marathon title. And then she hit the deck during her final track training session before she left for Prague.

“It was a bad fall,” said Kalmer from Dubai where she’s putting her feet up for a few days. ” I hurt my quad but at first I didn’t think it was too serious as I was still able to finish my session. But after that I was not able to jog more than 20 minutes pain free. So I was really worried that I was not going to be able to finish the race.

“I felt the quad from the start and what made it worse is that a lot of the course was on cobblestones and we also had to run in between tram tracks.

The problem didn’t prove too much for the first half of the race with Kalmer going through halfway in a comfortable 73:18. “But at 24km it started to pull real bad. At that stage I was also running on my own which made it more difficult.”

That wasn’t the only problem though — “I also missed my first four water bottles and only got my first drink at 25km and I think that also played a role.”

But Kalmer is not one to look for excuses. “I’m grateful that I was able to finish in sub sub 2:35min.” She now also knows that marathon running is not for sissies. “This race was definitely a good learning school and I have got respect for the marathon and marathon runners in general.

“There is not another race that tests you like the marathon. In the race from about 32km I told myself, never again. But now I’m already thinking about the next one.”

Which one that will be though is uncertain for now. “I’m still not sure what is next, I’m taking a break now and enjoying my holiday in Dubai. I’ll have to get my leg checked out when I’m back in SA as it is still painful.”


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