HOPEFIELD:- Many coaches disagree about the participation of track and field athletes in cross country competitions, and I have even been in a debate with someone who has a different opinion

Photo: Abigail Fortuin, second from left, has won the annual SA Cross Country Championships twice in a row, with her stands fellow athlete’s Uwaal Samuels, Leander Pholeman and Greyton Esterhuisen.

I decided to search for answers from two world-renowned sports administrators, and even one of South Africa’s best long-distance athletes on the issue.  Johnny Persents, who is a Western Province athletics coach, and one of the country’s best long distance runners.   The teacher, born in Klawer, believes an athlete should participate in cross-country races. “I believe an athlete should participate in cross country for various reasons.”


Picture above:-  Matzikama-born teacher and WP Athletic coach, Johnny Persens believes in Cross-Country participation  for success.

“First, your success in the field depends on a lot of basic things, like endurance and speed,” Johnny said.  Cross-Country competitions takes place in rest period of track and field numbers. It’s basically your base during the winter season, off season as we call it. ”.  “That helps you to develop your endurance for the track, you basically rebuild your stamina and endurance, for when track numbers start … For track & field, you need to be strong already, based on your performance during cross country season.  Yes, not all coaches agree with that, but it’s basically how I built my sports career.


There are also questions about competitions on tracks during the winter season, during cross-country competitions … Johnny Presens were very clear about it … there are no benefits for any athlete to participate in track and field items during outdoor athletics season.
According to the WP athletics coach, athletes can participate in fun runs, as long as they take it easy, not exerting too much and overloading the body. Take the first half calmly, and jog the other half of, say, a 5km race at a steady pace. But participating in track competitions during the off-season does not hold any benefit for you as an athlete, Presens told WCSS.


Anton Mostert, chairman of Free State Athletics, coach and manager of some of the country’s best athletes, fully agrees with Johnny.  I have managed and coached athletes from African countries like Ethiopia”. “Apart from the track, I made sure they take part in cross-country races and competitions,” Mostert told me.. Cross-Country running is actually the basis of an athlete’s success, the foundation of the athlete’s success on the track. “” I will not comment on who agrees or disagrees, but I believe Cross-Country running is a must for the athlete. .

SUCCESS DEPENDS – ATHLETEThe Swartland Athlete from Darling, on the Cape West Coast, believes Cross Country races is a benefit to success

Abigail Fortuin, who won the SA Cross-Country competition two years in a row, also agrees on participation in cross-country running.  “It definitely made me stronger as an athlete, when the track started for the athletics season, ” the 18-year-old said.  “Although I did not participate in track and field athletics this season,  I have been preparing for the 2022 cross-country races for some time now,”  told the athlete WCSS.

So if there was still any doubt, i believe the three people definitely gave us the advantage beyond doubt.   These are facts, however, to achieve success, you still have to work harder to get to that peak.


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