The T11 Paralympian from Bloemfontein, Louzanne Coetzee, will have a crack at the marathon world record on Sunday when she takes to the streets of the English capital city on Sunday during the London Marathon.
Coetzee will be running the 42.2 km in London for the first time in her career after her only two previous outings over the distance was during the 2017 Soweto Marathon and the 2018 Berlin Marathon in Germany.
Last year in Berlin, Coetzee came agonisingly close to breaking the T11 marathon world record, but she fell just 26 seconds shy of the benchmark of the 3:13:15 set by China’s Jin Zheng.
Coetzee has just recovered from a slight injury, however, she tells Bloemfontein Courant that she is ready to tackle one of the most iconic races in the world.
“I am very excited, but I do think that the last nerves are starting to the kick in. Training for the race has gone well. Under the circumstances, we did as much as we could because I had a bit of an ITB injury (commonly known as runner’s knee), but we have sorted that out and we are ready to go. We are as ready as we will be.”
Coetzee will be targeting the world record in London, however, she won’t make any promises about returning home with another benchmark to her name.
“I don’t want to make any promises with regards to times, but as you said, last time we came agonisingly close, so we will go out on a world record pace and let’s hope for the best during the day. I really do hope that we can break it this time, but we will have to see what happens.
“The circumstances and the conditions are going to be different this time and I think that the race is going to be slightly cooler than the one in Berlin. It is not as flat, but there has definitely been a lot of very fast times run in London as well.”
Coetzee, who turned 26 on Thursday, will once again be guided by the Bloemfontein businessman, Claus Kempen.
The 2019 London Marathon will be taking place on Sunday 28 April. – MORGAN PIEK