Not only is Adriaan Wildschutt now the king of long-distance track running in South Africa, but he is going all the way to the world championships.
The 25-year-old, who hails from Ceres in the Western Cape and is based in the United States, clocked a superb time of 13 minutes, 02.46 seconds (13:02.46) at the Night of Athletics meeting — which is part of the World Athletics Continental Tour — in Heusden-Zolder, Belgium on Saturday.
That saw him eclipse the previous South African record of 13:04.88, set by Elroy Gelant in 2016, and followed another remarkable run in May, when he broke the 10 000m national mark of 27:29.94 by Hendrick Ramaala in 1999 with a time of 27:23.10 in Walnut, near Los Angeles.
Wildschutt, who began his running career at Bella Vista High School in Ceres, went on to compete for the University of the Western Cape before earning a scholarship at the Coastal Carolina University in Conway, South Carolina, where he graduated with a business degree.
He then moved to Florida State University, where he completed his MBA in Tallahassee, where he is currently based.
On Saturday, Wildschutt clinched victory in Belgium, holding off American Olin Hacker, who posted a time of 13:09.94.
“Very happy with my 5000m race in Leuven, Belgium last night! I was able to run a PR of 13:02, qualifying for world champs and the Olympic Games in Paris next year. I also broke the South African record,” Wildschutt posted on Instagram.
“Big shout out to my teammate @okhacker2 for an amazing race and 10 second PR as well. #hoka #nazelite”
Now Wildschutt can prepare to travel to Budapest in Hungary for next month’s world championships in the 5 000m, as his 13:04.88 effort surpassed the qualifying time of 13:07.00.
He is currently 25th on the 2023 world list, with the fastest time this year set by Ethiopia’s Berihu Aregawi, who clocked an outstanding 12:40.45 in Lausanne, Switzerland on June 30.
The event takes place from August 19-27, with the men’s 5 000m heats scheduled for August 24, and the final for August 27.