This time it happened to one of the country’s best female 10K runners.
Written by: Riël Hauman
(c) 2011 Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved. Used with permission.
Eleven weeks after South African 1500m champion Juan van Deventer’s hopes for the IAAF World Championships in Daegu, Korea, were dashed when he was hit by a car while on a training run, the same fate befell South African 10K champion Irvette van Blerk.
Van Blerk, 24, was struck by a car on Thursday while training with René Kalmer only a few blocks from where Van Deventer was hurt in Ruimsig, near Johannesburg.
Fortunately for Van Blerk, who ran 33:56 in the New York Mini 10K in June, she was not injured nearly as badly as Van Deventer, whose left knee cap was broken. She suffered lacerations to her legs and head and also hurt her hip and neck. She did not have to be hospitalised. Ironically, Van Blerk visited Van Deventer, who is recuperating but cannot yet resume training, earlier in the day.
Kalmer said they had been running on the right hand side of the road, facing oncoming traffic. Van Blerk, who was doing a fartlek session, was a few meters ahead of her. The motorist who struck Van Blerk passed another car and hit the runner on the opposite side of the road.
Kalmer, the S.A. half marathon and 5,000m champion, voiced criticism against “speeding motorists” and said she planned to start a petition asking the traffic authorities to act against the “reckless driving” in the streets of the town. Van Blerk leads the South African performance lists in the 10K and half marathon this year with the 32:50 she ran in Durban in June, and 1:10:56 in New York in March, both career best times.