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  • Writer's pictureMosibodi Whitehead

'I feel happy' -Irvette van Zyl ready for World Champs after winning Joburg Totalsports Women's Race

On the day that Athletics South Africa released the final team that will represent the country at the World Championships, Irvette van Zyl recorded her first victory of what has been a difficult and injury riddle season. While we questioned whether the foot problem which forced her to withdraw from the Totalsports Two Oceans Marathon in April would heal in time for her to take her place in the World Champs squad, the Hollywood Athletic Club top runner spent the last few months determined to be there as she cross trained vigorously and then confirmed her fitness by winning yesterday's Totalsports Women's Race in Johannesburg.

"I feel happy! First win for the season," she told #TheTopRunner after completing the hilly 10km course run through Johannesburg's northern suburbs of Emmerentia, Greenside and Victory Park in 34:58 with her Hollywood teammate Rutendo Nyahora second (36:18) and Lebo Phalula (36:38) third.

Irvette Van Zyl claims gold at the Totalsports Women's Race in Joburg. Photo Credit: Tobias Ginsberg.

"It's feeling better than Saturday at SPAR ladies. I felt terrible on Saturday. Sunday and Monday I trained hard and yesterday I had an easy day, but still it's a lot of volume of training because in three weeks time I'm running a marathon. So I just wanted to come here and use it as another hard session and today I felt way better than I thought I would. And I think it's my kind of route where the hills are more steep, so from 4km when the hills started I knew that it is gonna be the make or break."

van Zyl went on to win the race comfortably which underlined her shape ahead of the marathon in Budapest, Hungary which will be run on the 26th of August. Having been chosen to represent the country at three Olympic Games, the 36-year-old is yet to cross the finish line in the marathon at major championship. This performance then just days before what could be her last chance in the green and gold, has left her confident that things will be different this time.

"It was a surreal moment for me because it was quite a while that I hadn't been in front in a race. It felt nice being in front and in the lead again. It was nice breaking the tape again. Just the way I felt today and the training I've done, I'm more confident goign to Budapest now. And now that I'm officially in the team it also makes it easier. I'm just excited to be in Budapest and do my best in the marathon," said the woman who qualified for the World Championships after running 2:26:11 for sixteenth place at the Valencia Marathon last December.

Taking place in three cities around the country every Women's Day, the Durban race was won by the improving Cacisile Sosibo of the Boxer Athletic Club in 33:31 with Hollywood AC's Tayla Kavanagh second in 33:44 and Comrades Marathon gold medalist Jenet Mbhele third in 34:06. The Cape Town race was called off due to safety concerns around the ongoing taxi strike in that city.

Catch van Zyl and other Hollywood AC top runners in action at the Hollywoodbets Durban 10km on 3 September at the Kings Park Athletics Stadium. Click HERE to enter. Asigijime!

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