Caroline Wöstmann (HPC) will definitely run another international marathon next year but her main goal will be to defend her Comrades title. Lindsey Parry, Wöstmann’s coach, says Caroline is disappointed with the way her race played out at the New-York Marathon, but the positive from it is that she is now more motivated than ever: ‘You can say that Caroline has got unfinished business in the marathon.’ Wöstmann finished 18th in 2 hours 44 minutes and 26 seconds, which meant that she failed to qualify for next year’s Olympic Marathon in Rio.
She was on track to run a sub 2 hour 42 minute race up to the last three kilometres. If she managed to do that she would have qualified for the Olympics. According to Parry it was a case of just one race too many for Wöstmann: ‘Caroline actually took a chance by running the New York Marathon. She had a foot-injury, but it did not seem serious enough that I thought she should withdraw.’
In spite of being injured Wöstmann still managed to run the first 21 kilometres in 1:18:40, which was a personal best for her, but over the last few kilometres she was in great pain. There is a chance that Wöstmann might run a marathon as early as March next year. If she should qualify for the Olympics the HPC athlete’s dilemma would be that the cut-off for Olympic qualification is only at the end of May and in all probability the South African team for the Games will only be announced in June.
Parry says: ‘By that time Caroline will already have run the Comrades. It will be a big ask to expect her to be competitive in an Olympic Marathon just more than two months later. Luckily Caroline is still young, therefore I think our aim should be to rather try to qualify for the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo.’ Parry is confident that Wöstmann has the ability to run a sub 2 hour 40 minute marathon. He even predicts that, on a good day, she might be able to go faster than 2 hours 30 minutes: ‘“Her time of 3 hours 41 minutes at this year’s Two Oceans show that Caroline is capable of running a 2:30 marathon. As does her Comrades performance where her time when broken down to minutes per kilometre was the fastest up time in the Comrades in history. Both Elena Nurgalieva and Frith Van Der Merwe (winners of the up Comrades) have posted sub 2:30 marathons so there is no reason why Caroline cannot also do it.’
Parry adds that Wöstmann is taking a break now: ‘When Caroline is back we will discuss whether running a marathon or the Two Oceans will suit her Comrades ambitions best. I don’t want Caroline to be competitive in three major races again next year. We are both keen on her running a fast time in the marathon.’
Photo credit: Reg Caldecott