Irvertte van Zyl gears up for the return of women’s 10km Grand Prix series

Irvertte van Zyl gears up for the return of women’s 10km Grand Prix series

Three-time Spar Women’s Grand Prix series champion Irvette van Zyl is determined to make a strong comeback in the renowned competition after facing setbacks last year.

Joining the series halfway through due to an ankle injury, the 36-year-old, who holds four Soweto Marathon titles, missed out on six months of running and only participated in two legs in 2023.

However, she has now confirmed her participation in the opening leg scheduled for March 18 in Cape Town, before the series heads to Pietermaritzburg, Durban, Mbombela, Tshwane, and Johannesburg.

“I may not participate in every race due to my preparations for the Olympic Games, but I plan to compete in a few, particularly the initial ones," van Zyl confirmed to SABC Sport.

"I’ve missed out on a lot, so I’m eager to start with the ones I couldn’t attend especially the first race.  Although it won’t be easy facing the strong competition from the Ethiopians, my focus is on running my race and maximising my potential. 

"With commitments including the Olympic Games, Two Oceans marathon, and the Soweto Marathon, alongside 10km races like the Spar and the Absa Run Your City, I can’t commit to all of them."

The overall champion, determined by points earned throughout the series, will walk away with a prize of R200 000.

Van Zyl kicked off 2024 in triumph, clinching her ninth Dischem half-marathon title in Bedfordview, Johannesburg, last month.

Her outstanding performance earned her the title of Female Athlete of the Year in Gauteng, bestowed upon her by the Hollywood Athletics Club. 

Brimming with confidence, she now enters the women’s challenge, prepared to take on the formidable Ethiopian duo of Tadu Nare and Salem Gabre, who secured first and second place in the overall standing last year.

“Should I remain injury-free and maintain my health, I’ll be able to fully relish the races and perform to the best of my abilities," she concluded.

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