Irvette prepares for China | SASCOC - SASCOC

Irvette prepares for China

By Mark Etheridge

Having won the CAA Southern Region half-marathon road running championships in Blantyre, Malawi at the weekend, Irvette van Blerk now has bigger fish to fry.

Our leading women’s road runner right now, with the national 10km and half-marathon titles under her belt, Van Blerk won the Malawi race in 76min 54sec at the weekend, leading four fellow South Africans across the line.

“It was a tough race for me in a mental aspect,” said Van Blerk on Thursday ” I just had to battle with myself to stay positive. The route was very difficult and it was made more difficult by the fact that there were no kilometre markers to judge pace with. There were only the waterpoints which were five kilometres apart.”

Making things more difficult for runners was the weather. “It absolutely poured with rain for the first half of the race,” said Van Blerk. “All the rain made the road surface very slippery and it made me feel a big negative and drained of energy.

“I didn’t start very fast, the reason being that there was a steep hill from the beginning, I reckon it was more than two kilometres long! And there were lots of other hills on the route as well. I was lying in second place until the first waterpoint and only took the lead from one of the Namibian girls and from then on to the finish it was just me.

“I can’t put my finger on it but it was just one of those races that I didn’t enjoy and was willing the finish line to come along almost every step.”

But Van Blerk is back in high spirits now and the Central Gauteng athlete is already planning her next assault. “I’m training flat out now for the world half-marathon championships in China on 16 October but before that I’ve got the City 2 City 10km race this weekend and then the Spar women’s 10km in Johannesburg a week before world half-marathon championships.”

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