Johannesburg, South Africa - Rene Kalmer has been running in SPAR Women’s 10km Challenge races for more than half her life.
She has also been winning Challenge races for many years, notching up her first win at the tender age of 14. In fact, Kalmer has won more SPAR races than anyone else. She has also won the SPAR Grand Prix three times – in 2007, 2009 and 2012, and finished in the top 10 for the first 10 years of the Grand Prix’s existence.
SPAR Women’s Challenge ambassador Rene Kalmer getting ready for a SPAR race at the SPAR Women’s Challenge Pietermaritzburg last month.
Photo credit : Reg Caldecott
So Rene Kalmer is an ideal ambassador for the SPAR Challenge – a position she has held since 2016, when she was out of action because of a long-standing injury and her pregnancy.
“I am very proud to be an ambassador for the SPAR races,” said Kalmer.
“The SPAR races have been part of my life for so long and now that I am a working mom, I feel even closer to the thousands of women who take part,” she said.
“The races are so important. Many women get the running bug after taking part in a SPAR race, and women only races are always great. There is always a great atmosphere and it is specially good for the winner, who is the first person to cross the finish line.”
Kalmer said she was determined to finish in the top 10 in the Johannesburg Challenge at Marks Park on October 7.
“The Johannesburg race has always been my favourite, because of the great vibe and because I am totally committed to the charity associated with it, which is Reach for Recovery, a support group for women with breast cancer.
“The route from Marks Park is very pretty and it is quite challenging. It is relatively flat for the first five kilometres, with lots of twists and turns, and then a steep climb past the Parkhurst golf course.”
Kalmer has been giving back to the race that has been so much a part of her life by mentoring about 20 runners from Vorentoe Hoerskool in Auckland Park.
“I am really enjoying my interaction with these girls,” said Kalmer.
“I have enjoyed watching them develop and gain confidence and we have had a lot of fun together. We had so many when we went to the Pretoria Challenge that I had to call on my husband for help so that we could transport everyone. “Afterwards, we all went for a burger and everyone was able to share their experiences and I was able to bond with them. Most of them are boarders, so running helps them to get away from school for a while.”