make the Olympics?
René: It really is hard work being a distance runner. I train twice a day, seven days a week, clocking between 160 and 180km a week!
Is London only going to be about the Olympics or are you planning to let your hair down a bit?
René: The London Olympics is this year’s ultimate focus. The women’s marathon is on the third day of the athletic programme, so I have a week after I have competed to enjoy the Olympic atmosphere and everything it has to offer.
How did you get into athletics?
René: I started running when I was ten years old. I finished 42nd in a cross country race and fell in love with running, I started to train after that and improved every year. I won my first national title at the age of 15 and represented South Africa for the first time at the age of 16.
You’ve won some important races recently, including the Two Oceans Marathon. Is winning always a good feeling?
René: I appreciate every win. Last year was a roller coaster year with lots of ups and downs. Training went very well, but it didn’t reflect in my races. So I’m thrilled that this year is going so well. I couldn’t ask for a better build up in the Olympic year.
Who is your mentor?
René: My parents play a very big role in my career. They are very supportive and I’m very excited that my whole family will be at the Olympics to support me.
Take the Quiz
Got what it takes to go the distance in athletics? Let’s test your skills on shot put. Answer true or false.
1. The men’s shot weighs around 7kg.
2. Shots are pushed or put, not thrown.
3. To start a ‘put’ the participant places the shot at the edge of his/her shoulder.
4. Shot put competitors in the Olympics may use gloves.
5. The shot put circle is 2.5m wide.
All in the mix
A mix of track and field events is called a decathlon for men and a heptathlon for women. Both competitions are held over two consecutive days and test the endurance, stamina and fitness of athletes.
In the London Olympics, the decathlon consists of ten events for the men and seven for the women. Various events in track and field are included. The first day includes a 100m sprint, long jump, shot put, high jump and the 400m run. The first event on day two is a hurdles race, followed by discus, pole vaulting, javelin and the 1500m run. Points are awarded according to time, distance or performance in the different heats, and not field placing. The women’s heptathlon includes a 100m hurdles race, high jump and long jump, shot put, javelin and a 200m and 800m run. The winner of the decathlon event is usually crowned with the title of ‘The World’s Greatest Athlete’.
Published By: Bronwyn Kemsley