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  • Writer's pictureThathe Msimango

'It is still kind of surreal to me' - Record breaker Wildschutt says he was inspired by Elroy Gelant

South African distance running sensation Adriaan Wildschutt says all his latest accomplishments are simply the result of the hard work he has put in during training in the last couple of months. Wildschutz has been in form of his life as he has broke three national records in as many months. In May he produced a brilliant time of 27:23 to set new 10 000m SA record, then last weekend he ran 13:02 over twelve and a half laps of the track to eclipse Elroy Gelant's 13:04.88. His performance was followed by a sensational run of 7:39.25 in Luzern, Switzerland in the 3 000m distance on Thursday as he became the first South African to dip under the magical 7:40 mark. Speaking to #TheTopRunner, the 25-year-old US based athletes said he is still in disbelief.

"It is still kind of surreal to me that I was able to accomplish this feat of setting three South African records in the span of a few months. I am still taking it all in, and also remain very grateful for everything. It feels great to see that my hard work has been rewarded, and I am very proud of myself for being able to execute these races. However, not all this would have been possible without the support of my brand (Hoka) and team (NAZelite)," said an elated Wildschutt.

Wildschutt is now SA Record holder in the 3000m, 5000m and 10 000m. Photo Credit: Adriaan Wildschutt.

"I never set out specifically to break SA records back to back, it just happened this way as a result of the plan I had set in place with my coach and my team. My training was an indication that I was in the shape of my life. For example, I wanted to run the Olympic standard in the 5k (13:05). I knew in the back of my mind that if I could accomplish that goal I would most likely break the record. Then when I ran 13:02, I knew I was capable of breaking the 3000m record as well which was my primary goal going into the 3k on Thursday," explained the man who took fifth place (27:41.04) in the 10 000m at the 2022 Commonwealth Games

The man who hails from the small town of Ceres in the Western Cape where he began his running before moving to the US on an athletics scholarship with his twin brother Nadeel, has inspired many with his achievements on the global stage. Wildschutt says that he was only able to achieve his success because he too was inspired by others - Elroy Gelant in particular who like him grew up in a small town (Pacaltsdorp in George) and rose to become a world beater.

Wildschutt celebrates with Milton Kekana after claiming the bronze medal in the 10 000m (29:36.39) at the 2019 World Student Games in Italy where Kekana won gold. Photo Credit: Supplied.

"It feels great to know that I am on my way to cement myself as a South African great in the end with all these records. Elroy Gelant always has been a great person that I especially admired for his athletic ability and always aspired to be as fast as he was. He texted me after breaking his 5000m record, congratulating me which showed great sportsmanship and which meant a great deal to me considering that he was the guy that I looked up to as an athlete."

Next up for the man who represented South Africa at last year's World Championship in Oregon is next month's World Champs in the Hungarian capital of Budapest. "Well, I think I am in good form, but I can always improve especially considering how stiff competition is at world champs. Medaling would be the primary goal, but I also do respect everyone that is going to be there and will probably chase for the same. Getting a medal would be such an amazing accomplishment that I would probably relish for the rest of my life. That would truly means the world, "

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