'I definitely love running the most' - Triathlete Jamie Riddle talks running & Commonwealth Games
Perhaps it was inevitable that Jamie Riddle would end up being a professional sportsman. After-all he does have Alec Riddle as a father, a man who made a name for himself in athletics circles as the force behind the legendary Max Africa running club. Based in the Eastern Cape, this elite team dominated road running during the late during the 1990's and early 2000's boasting such top runners such as Makhosonke Fika, Abner Chipu, Johannes Kekana, Simon Mpholo and Norman Dlomo all of whom were world class performers on the international stage. And as the two-year old Jamie helped his dad hand out water bottles to the Elite Max Africa athletes during their high altitude training camp in Ha Lojane, Lesotho, he was quietly absorbing valuable lessons for a future as an elite athlete.
"I started running from a very young age. Basically as young as I can remember, I've always been running, since I was six yers old," he said during an interview with #TheTopRunner. "I was always doing all sorts of sports running, biking, swimming, water polo, soccer, rugby, everything. But I would say I would say I decided to commit to triathlon around the age of twelve or thirteen already because I was following my dad around while he was racing triathlon as an age-grouper. He's always been a big influence on my career."
What started out as following in his father's fast footsteps has developed into a career for the Entsika Athletics Club triathlete. He already has seven career wins to his name including the recent Los Angeles Herbalife Triathlon, the 2022 Africa Triathlon Cup Troutbeck in April, the 2022 Africa Triathlon Cup Nelson Mandela Bay in his native Gqeberha in March and his first SA senior elite title. And maybe because of his father's love affair with the Comrades Marathon and road running in general, the man who holds a 14:34.75 5000m personal best says running remains his favourite of the three triathlon disciplines.
"Out of the three disciplines, I definitely love running the most. I feel it's the simplest. For swimming you have to find a pool or an ocean and you need goggles and wetsuits. For cycling you need a bike so it's a very expensive sport, whereas all you need for running is a pair of shoes and you can run anywhere and sometimes you don't even need shoes. I love the simplicity of it and there's no better feeling than getting into a flow state while running," he shared.
Currently based in Switzerland where he is training with the Swiss national team in preparation for the Commonwealth Games in August, Riddle is following his dream of reaching the very pinnacle of the sport. Yet although, he is signed to a French triathlon team and competing across Europe and the United States he maintains that representing South Africa in Birmingham at his first Commonwealth Games is his biggest achievement to date. It means that the next four two years will be very important for the 21-year-old.
"The goal is of course the Olympics in Paris 2024. I don't wanna go there just to compete, I want to go there for a medal so that is the goal. Once I've retired from triathlon at like 35 or 40 years old then things like Comrades or bucket list races like Two Oceans. My dad was a Comrades runner so I definitely do plan to do the Comrades. I'll definitely do them and I feel like even at that age I'll be able to compete at a high level," he concluded.