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How's this for motivation? Athletics couple say the one who earns less in 2016 must pay for end-of-year holiday

By David Isaacson | 2016-09-08 12:26:38.0

Athlete Irvette van Zyl is in a race against time to recover from injury ahead of a lucrative series decider in Johannesburg next month‚ motivated in part by a bet with her husband.

A stress fracture in the third metatarsal of her left foot stands between her and the R160‚000 prize for the overall winner of the Spar Women’s Grand Prix 10km.

Van Zyl tops the series leaderboard with 70 points amassed from three victories‚ just six points ahead of Lebogang Phalula.

Rio Olympians Christine Kalmer is third on 58 points and Lebo Phalula fourth on 55.

Van Zyl‚ who had to withdraw from the Olympic marathon the day before the race‚ has been cycling and swimming to keep fit.

“It’s getting better‚” she said at the launch of the race decider at the Wanderers club on October 9.

“Last week I was still in pain‚ but I will try again on Friday on the ultra-G [an anti-gravity treadmill that reduces a person’s weight] and hopefully on the road next week.”

She’s also been going for treatment in a hyperbaric chamber‚ where she gets to breathe pure oxygen that helps recovery‚ although it gets expensive at R800 a pop.

“I’ve had 20 sessions — it’s eating all my money up‚” she said with a laugh.

Victory next month will also see the mother-of-one win a bet with hurdler hubby LJ van Zyl‚ where the one who earns the least prize money this year must pay for the end-of-year holiday.

But she also has a deep desire to bury the disappointment of Rio.

After failing to finish the marathon at the London Games four years ago‚ Van Zyl now has an Olympic Did Not Start.

She couldn’t hold back the tears as she spoke about the pain of Rio. "It (winning the series) is important to me".