Johannesburg – Irvette Van Zyl this week broke the Nedbank Runified Breaking Barriers 50km marathon record in Gqeberha with a time of 3:4:23 – nearly three minutes quicker than the previous mark.
Van Zyl was supposed to play the pace setter role with teammate Gerda Steyn‚ but she just kept going and won the race.
“At 28km I spoke to Gerda and I told her I was running too lekker to stop. I told her I am going to go until 35km and then just before 35km I saw Nick Bester and I showed him the thumbs-up for a go‚ and he told me I could go. I felt great today and I just didn’t feel like stopping yet. Those days are really little so I would rather just enjoy it and take the moment in. If you are not overexerting yourself‚ why not just finish?” she said after the race on Sunday.
Van Zyl said she was feeling primed and ready for the Tokyo Olympic Games.
“May 25 will mark a year since I had a really serious knee operation that basically saved my running career. The win will really give me a confidence boost because it feels like all the training that we have done is in the right direction.”
The men’s record of 2:43:20‚ held by Thompson Mangawana for over 30 years‚ was broken by Ethiopian Ketema Negasa in 2:42:06.
Jonas Makhele and Entsika’s Ntsindiso Mphakathi finished second and third respectively in the men’s race‚ while three-time Comrades Marathon champion Bongmusa Mthembu was fifth.