Comrades winner sets sights on Olympics

Caroline Wöstmann has been invited to compete in the New York Marathon in November and coach Lindsey Parry has said much will depend on her performance in this race.

“If Caroline manages to run a time close to or faster than two hours and 35 minutes, I think next year’s Olympic Marathon will be our next goal,” said Parry.

“I would then like her to run a second marathon roundabout April next year, where her goal should be to run a time as close as possible to two hours and 30 minutes. If she manages to do that, she will probably be one of South Africa’s top three female marathon athletes.”

Judging by the statistics, it will be a tall order for Wöstmann to qualify for the Olympics as her best marathon time at present is 2:44. This means she will have to improve by nearly 14 minutes during the next 11 months.

But if Wöstmann has proved anything this year, it is that she is not one to shy away from a challenge.

“Every time I thought about the Comrades, I visualised winning,” said Wöstmann. “So nothing is impossible. The only limitations we have are the limitations we put on ourselves and I will never limit myself by saying I am not capable of doing something. I strive to give it my best and if I don’t succeed, it is okay. It is not the end of the world. All that matters is that I enjoy what I am doing.

“After winning the Comrades, it feels as if I have achieved my ultimate goal. Obviously Comrades will still be there next year, but I feel I should challenge myself by doing something else, something new that I have not done before. I like the uncertainty of pushing the boundaries, not knowing whether it is possible to break through.”

Parry is confident about pregnant long-distance runner Irvette van Zyl’s chances of qualifying for next year’s Olympic marathon.

If everything goes according to plan, Van Zyl will give birth by mid-September. Parry hopes she will be able to resume her training in November and will be ready to attempt to qualify in April in one of the smaller marathons in Europe.

“What counts in Irvette’s favour is that, because she has been doing quality training until now, she has not lost much of her fitness. During the next few weeks, I would like her to continue her training on an indoor cycle.” – ANA

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