Updated: March 17, 2016


Chasing an elusive title, perennial runner-up Irvette van Zyl hopes her spectacular form will convert into a deserved victory at the Old Mutual Two Oceans Half-Marathon next week.
“I want my name on that trophy. It is the one I do not have,” Van Zyl said this week, in the build-up to the race.
“I have finished second too many times.”
The 28-year-old athlete was edged into second place at the prestigious 21km race in Cape Town every year between 2010 and 2013.
Last year, while four months pregnant, she finished 11th in 1:21:18.
Returning to top-flight action this season, after having her first child in September, Van Zyl has displayed the best shape of her career.
She opened her season with a 33:30 victory over 10km in Pretoria, and a week later she blitzed the high-altitude Johnson Crane half-marathon in Benoni in 1:12:08.
Turning to the track for the first time since 2012, in order to work on her speed in the build-up to her Olympic qualifying attempt in London next month, Van Zyl clocked 9:11.51 and shattered her long-standing 3 000m personal best by more than 18 seconds at the ASA Night Series meeting in Pretoria last week.
Four days later she produced a solo 5 00m effort during the Athletics Gauteng North Championships, again at Pilditch Stadium, crossing the line in 16:17.69 and missing her 5 000m career record by less than a second.
She will face a full-strength domestic line-up at Two Oceans, including former winners Rene Kalmer, Lebo and Lebogang Phalula, as well as Olympic marathon hopefuls Mapaseka Makhanya and Jenna Challenor.
Turning out at sea level for the first time this season, Van Zyl’s coach Lindsey Parry said she would use the race as a final tune-up for the London Marathon.
“She is in phenomenal form and we’re very excited,” Parry said.
“The Old Mutual Two Oceans Half Marathon will be her last big test before tackling London.”