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Rising star Melinda Jansen van Vuuren flies the BNAC flag high

Jansen van Vuuren is an exciting running talent.

A 22-year-old female runner from Benoni Northerns Athletic Club (BNAC) is making people stand up and take notice.

Melinda Jansen van Vuuren has put in some incredible performances out on the road (and even on the trails) in recent months and has achieved some fantastic finishing times in a number of races.

Because she only started running in April last year, her superb rise in the sport is nothing short of remarkable.

In her most recent race on March 17, the Old Mutual Om Die Dam 50km race, the Springs resident finished as the seventh woman home in a time of four hours and five minutes.

A week prior to that on March 10, Jansen van Vuuren made BNAC proud when she became the overall winner of the Kosmos 3-in-1 race in Secunda.

She was the first female to finish the 42.2km marathon in a time of 3:11:14 and, even more impressively, achieved the overall best times by a female in the 3-in-1 race. She ran a total of 73.3km in one day by running the 42km, 21km and 10km distances with an aggregate time of 5:48:11.

She has shown some tremendous progress since her first marathon, the SABS Jacaranda Marathon in Pretoria, where she finished in four hours and 16 minutes.

Melinda Jansen van Vuuren was the first overall woman finisher of the Kosmos 3-in-1 race on March 10. 

“After I achieved the first place in my fifth marathon, it made me realise that anything is possible through hard work, dedication and a strong mind,” she said.

Jansen van Vuuren described the news of winning her first marathon as ‘overwhelming’.

“Some race officials told me that I was the first woman home, but I only believed it once I heard the announcer say on the loudspeaker: ‘Ladies and gentlemen, here is our first woman coming in now’.

“When all the people cheered for me I was so happy yet I wanted to cry.

“It was a mixed bag of emotions, but a moment I will never forget.

“God has really been so good to me and I am thankful.

“All I want to do now is eat, sleep and run.”

The talented kilometre-crusher will be hoping to make an impact when she debuts as a novice runner at the 2018 Comrades Marathon down run on June 10.

“I know it is in a different class, but I want to finish the Comrades in seven hours and 30 minutes.

“Going forward I would like to become more competitive by improving my times.

“Obviously, I still have a lot to learn about this sport which I enjoy so much.

“I am fortunate to be running at a club like BNAC.

“The people there are always willing to give advice and help.

“BNAC is like one big family where everybody supports each other.”

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