World champs: Local ultra marathon woman comes ninth

2011-09-13 00:00

PIETERMARITZBURG long-distance runner Kerry Koen, of the Nedbank Running Club, finished ninth in the prestigious International Association of Ultra-runners (IAU) World and European Championships held in the Dutch city of Winschoten on Saturday.

Now in its 25th year, the ultra-marathon attracted a record number of participants this year, with more than 230 athletes representing 35 countries in the 100 km race, said the organisers of the IAU World and European Championships.

Another South African runner, Lindsay van Aswegen, finished third in the marathon.

Koen, who also finished in ninth place in this year’s Comrades Marathon’s women’s section, said yesterday it was her first time to run the race and that it was the first one she has run with a longer distance than the Comrades.

“I approached the race like the Comrades … started slow, saved my energy for the finish,” she said.

Koen had assumed she would finish in the top 15 in the race. “I was over the moon to finish ninth”.

She said she had not been fully fit for the race, but she did not want to miss the opportunity to represent her counrty.

Will she run it again next year? Probably not, said Koen, because the ultra-marathon will be held in April, close to the Comrades.

“But anything can happen,” she added.

Koen doesn’t only excel in long distances. She recently came third in the Spar Women’s 10 km race in Pietermaritzburg.

thandom@witness.co.za

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