Kalmer became only the fourth South African woman to break the two-and-a-half hour barrier when she finished fifth in Yokohama in 2011, crossing the line in 2:29:59.
She picked up a calf injury during the Boston Marathon in April, finishing 17th in 2:37:15, but she has enjoyed a steady return to form in recent weeks. “I’d like to run under 2:30, and maybe even under 2:28,” Kalmer said yesterday, confirming she would turn out again in the women’s only race in Japan.
“It’s a flat route and I ran well there two years back, so I’m looking forward to it.” SA has a rich history of road running in Japan, with Elana Meyer setting three world records there between March 1997 and January 1999.
Gert Thys set the SA men’s marathon record of 2:06:33 in Tokyo in 1999, and Josiah Thugwane won the prestigious Fukuoka Marathon in 1997. “I love racing in Japan. They look after the athletes so well,” Kalmer said.
“Elana ran well there and they still remember her, so I sort of get special treatment.”
Kalmer, 32, has been SA’s most consistent women’s distance runner for more than 10 years, representing the country at six World Cross Country Championships and two Olympic Games.