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  • Writer's pictureMosibodi Whitehead

'The training is very measured' - Another SA Record for Wildschutt

On a night when Ethiopia's Hagos Gebrhiwet ran within 90 seconds of the world record to win the men's 5000m at the Oslo Diamond League in an astonishing 12:36.73, South Africa celebrated a national record at the Bislett Games. Lining up alongside the likes of Gebrihwet, Yomif Kejelcha, Jacob Kiplimo and Joshua Cheptegei was national 3000m, 50000m and 10 000m record holder Adriaan Wildschutt whose thirteenth place finish in the lightening fast race saw him clock 12:56.67 to improve on the 13:02.46 he had produced last July.

The man who originally hails from the rural town of Ceres in the Western Cape has now set no less than five national records in the last ten months. He says the tremendous improvement that he has enjoyed has come as a result of the scientific approach to training he has received since joining a professional club in the United States. Wildschutt initially moved to the US with his brother Nadeel to attend Coastal University in South Carolina on a university scholarship which was made possible by Zola Budd, but unlike Nadeel who returned to SA, Adriaan stayed on after completing his degree where with the support of running shoe company Hoka, he turned professional.

Widschutt says the coaching he has received at the Hoka sponsored Northern Arizona Elite Club has been highly scientific and very technical which is why he has improved so rapidly over the last 18 months. Photo Credit: Northern Arizona Elite.

"Hard work consistency and just basic things like discipline. The training is very measured. You don't race a lot. I'm fortunate enough that I was able to attend my first university with Zola Budd. She nurtured a lot of injuries at my first university and didn't want us overwork and overtrain. Then when I moved to Florida State, I got a coach who is very technical. They try and get you ready for the best possible times because you can run fast in January but that doesn't really matter because the championship race is in August. They tried to build your training towards that, whereas when I was in South Africa everything is here and now. 10k there, 5k there, 3k there, 21k there so you can never get to peak fitness and exploit your training," he explained.

Backed by his Northern Arizona Elite club which is based in the high-altitude US town of Flagstaff, Arizona Wildschutt has been able to hang with the world's best East Africans over the middle to long distances. The 26-year-old must now decide on what distance to tackle at the Paris Olympics after qualifying for both the 5000m and the 10 000m. And after his performance in Norway last night, could he end up doing both?

The Wildschutt brothers pose with coach Zola Budd during their days at Coastal University. Photo Credit: Zola Budd.

"I will definitely do the 10k and will decided whether I want to do the 5k as well. I would imagine that my best distance based on performance would be 10k. I have done really well in the 5k and the 3k. I enjoy the 3k the most. I think it's fun. You run really fast, but before you get super tired and lactic then you're done. Whereas the 10k you start struggling at 6k and with 4k to go you have to maintain that."

There was more South African success at the sixth instalment of the Diamond League last night. Akani Simbine continued his unbeaten streak this season as he won the men's 100m in 9.94, while Prudence Sekgodišo won her second Diamond League race of the season when she women the women's 800m in 1:58.66.

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