April 19, 2024

‘Surreal’ Wildschutt shatters SA 10 000m record to make history

Adriaan Wildschutt shattered his own national 10 000m record and made history in the process when he became the first South African to break the 27-minute barrier in California on Saturday.

The 25-year-old from Ceres in the Western Cape is now the first South African to go sub 27 in the 10 000m and sub 13 in the 5000m. He  ran 12:56.76 in the 5 000m on an indoor track in Boston in January.

Wildschutt not only smashed the SA 10 000m record in a blistering  26min 55.54sec at the annual Ten contest in San Juan Capistrano, but his time was also well inside the automatic 27:00 qualifying time for the Paris Olympics. 

The US-based distance star took nearly 30 seconds off his previous mark of 27:23.10 set in May 2023 and was not too far behind the winner American Grant Fisher (26:52.04).

Having already qualified in the 5,000m, Wildschutt is now also the first South African athlete to have qualified in two events for the Olympic Games from July 27 to August 11. 

An elated Wildschutt described the feeling of smashing his SA record and achieving the Olympic qualifying standard as “surreal”.

“Yes, it’s kind of surreal!” said Wildschutt in an interview with FloTrack.

“Right now I really don’t realise how fast I just ran. Looking back at it in weeks to come I will probably realise that it was actually really impressive.

“Improving the South African record by more than 20 seconds is a lot. It means a lot to me because the South African record was only 27:28 a year ago until I bettered it to 27:23 and now it’s under 27 minutes. I  am very happy to reach the standard. I know it will mean a lot to South Africans and people that look up to me.

“It’s still so surreal while I’m talking I’m thinking about it, it’s so crazy. I have to be honest, a year ago thinking of breaking 27 minutes was not possible in my mind. I have improved a lot over the last year and will continue to work on my closing speed.

“I want to continue to improve not just at these types of races, but I also want to compete at the moments when it really matters like the Olympics and the bigger events.

“I’m really grateful because it means a lot to me and I know my family is proud of me and I know my late dad is proud of me as well. I will continue to do that for my family and my fans and everybody. So yes, I’m very happy,” he added.


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