Soweto Marathon holder Van Zyl predicts record will fall
Former winner has not competed in the race since 2019
Irvette van Zyl predicts the Soweto Marathon women’s record she holds will fall on Sunday though she isn’t promising to be the one to break it.
She clocked the 2hr 33 min 43 sec mark in 2018, in the middle of her hat-trick of victories, but she has not competed in the race since 2019. The 2:16:28 men’s record has stood since 2012.
Defending women’s champion Chalu Bedo Negashu, an Ethiopian running under the Nedbank Running Club colours, will also compete in the 28th edition of this event, as will her compatriot, Tinebebe Nebiyu Ali, third last year.
“I think the record will go, but I’m not sure if it will be me,” Van Zyl told reporters at the FNB stadium on Thursday.
“I always say, Soweto is really hard, but if the weather is cooler then it’s really possible to break the record because that last 10km won’t be that brutal.”
The heat has historically been a factor in the last quarter of the race, but with the start scheduled for 5.30am, and the temperature expected to top 20°C by 8am on Sunday, conditions may favour a fast time.
“I will be really happy if I can feature on the podium,” said the Hollywood Athletics Club runner. “Because of my absence I’m a bit unsure because I know the route really well, but the competition is tough.”
She reiterated that she enjoyed the race, which is one of the tougher 42.2km events on the circuit because of the hills, heat and altitude.
“I like the tougher courses because I feel it makes me a stronger runner... Last year I couldn’t run because I had an injury so I’m really just thankful to start with everyone this year because Soweto has been really close to my heart, and I’m just excited to be here on Sunday and run the streets and take in the atmosphere.”
Altogether 20,000 entries have been received, and depending on how many runners actually show, it could repeat its showing as the biggest single-day mass participation event in the country for the second year in a row.
SuperSport will televise the race live on DStv channel 201 from 5.15am.
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