Maxwell just makes it to London

2010-04-24 00:00

SOUTH Africa’s leading woman marathoner, Tanith Maxwell, had her travel plans to tomorrow’s London Marathon thrown into turmoil by the volcanic ash that grounded virtually all flights in Britain this week.

Maxwell was only due to arrive in London this morning, which is less than optimal for her final preparation.

Kloof-based Maxwell has been in the form of her life in the buildup to tomorrow’s London Marathon, recording personal best times in a number of events, including last Sunday’s Spar Ladies 10 km in Cape Town where she was runner-up to René Kalmer in an impressive 33 minutes and four seconds.

Her current form was also highlighted with her fourth place in the challenging Old Mutual Two Oceans half-marathon in early April.

“My training has gone really well. I have improved my [short distance] speed, and know I can have a good race,” said Maxwell last week before the air flight drama. “I am confident that I can run a personal best which will take me safely below the 2:36 mark. I have trained hard and I am as ready as I can be.”

Although having previously run Frankfurt, Vienna and Warsaw in Europe, this will be Maxwell’s highest profile city marathon and puts her up against the best in the world.

“It has been a lifelong dream to go to London. It’s going to be awesome to line up with athletes like Deena Kaster: she is one of my heroes. Its such a pity Paula Radcliffe is not in the field,” stated Maxwell, who initially planned to be in London by Wednesday, before the threat of volcanic ash resulted in the earliest confirmable direct flight to London being on May 5, fully a week after the race.

On Wednesday Maxwell was still frantically searching travel options through Europe to London, but Amsterdam-based sponsors Adidas advised that travel through Madrid and Eurostar railways, that utilise the channel tunnel, were also chaotic due to the backlog of flights.

Eventually Maxwell and her manager secured flights into London, but at a premium of R13 000 — almost double the initial fare.

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