By Riël Hauman
(c) 2011 Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved

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 10 km 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 10-K 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 metres 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 5000m 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 10 km 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.


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