Event: Women’s Long Distances Date of birth: 1985/04/09 Personal bests: 800m (2:03.36),...
RIANA VAN NIEKERK DIES AT 39
Four-time Comrades Marathon gold medallist Riana van Niekerk died on Saturday after a lengthy cancer battle.
The 39-year-old athlete, who also bagged three Two Oceans gold medals during her accomplished career, was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in May last year.
“Riana died at 4pm. She fought like the champ she is,” her husband Allie confirmed on Facebook.
Van Niekerk was a regular fixture on the domestic circuit over the last 15 years, and was best known for her performances in ultra-distance events.
She won the Om Die Dam 50km race six times, racking up her most recent victory shortly before she was diagnosed last season, and earned titles at the Loskop and City2City ultra-marathons.
Though she was not as successful over shorter distances, Van Niekerk won the women’s title at the SA Marathon Championships in 2009, and held a 21km personal best of 1:15:48 and a marathon career record of 2:43:00.