Mundell hopes his record will inspire future walkers | SASCOC - SASCOC

Mundell hopes his record will inspire future walkers

By Mark Etheridge

New African 50km walk record holder Marc Mundell hopes his performance at the 2012 Olympic Games inspires the next generation of South African sportsmen and women.

Mundell set a national and continental record of 3hr 55min 32sec in the walk at the weekend. He had qualified for the Games in Saransk, Russia on 13 May.

“Two personal bests over 50km in 13 weeks is fantastic. I am incredibly humbled to be an Olympian. I hope that I will Inspire the next generation,” he said.

“My personal expectation coming into the race was to achieve a new personal best at the Olympic Games. As the only South African and African athlete participating, a new PB would achieve both a national and Continental record. I set my goals on walking close to 3hr 55min and together with my coaching and medical staff, prepared for the goal. I was determined to walk negative splits and to finish well; an improvement on my performance in Russia.

“I was very confident with my training, having recorded better interval results and faster distance sessions in the build up. Having finished fourth at the Africa Championship in Benin in the 20km in June, I was confident of my form going into the Olympics. I prepared well at the HPC in Pretoria, undertaking a two-week training camp at altitude.

“Together with my coach, we anticipated that the race would be really fast off the gun, most probably just under nine minutes (3:45:00 pace) and then getting incrementally faster.

“I enjoyed my race, which went according to plan for the majority of the race. The key was starting slow and building throughout the race, keeping a very constant pace and aiming for something close to 3:55:00. I was difficult to be so far back early on in the race, but I managed to move through the field in the second half, recording negative splits as the fast pace early on in addition to the heat took its toll on many of the athletes.

“I walked with Brendan Boyce (Irl) and Quenten Rew (Nzl) for most of the race. We altered lead positions within our group and in the end both of them finished just ahead of me with PB’s.

“I was tremendously happy with my PB, National Record and Area (African) Record. It was wonderful to compete at the highest International level and to achieve a PB.┬á It was incredible to be in a race where the first 25 athletes finished under 3:50:00 and 40 athletes finished under four hours. With my time of 3:55:32, I could quite happily stop competing with this as my lasting memory and final 50km race ÔÇô only time will tell. My time however is an IAAF A standard for the IAAF World Athletics Championships in Moscow next year.

“My personal race splits from yesterday’s race were very consistent and very even. I was delighted to negative split given the racing conditions.

Mundell’s splits were as follows: 10km = 47:30; 20km = 1:34:13 (46:43); First 25km = 1:57:49; 30km = 2:21:18 (47:05); 40km = 3:08:27 (47:09); 50km = 3:55:32 (47:05) @161/171; Second 25km = 1:57:43

“After the race, I didnt get any muscle cramps ÔÇô which is testimony to my improved nutrition and conditioning. I was also well looked after by the SASCOC medical team on the day and in the days preceeding the race. I had received numerous sports massages and strapping as required, in addition to ice baths and posture corrections.

“The SA medical team on the day also ensured that my blisters were cleansed after the race and helped with a rub down, prior to accompanying me to doping control. I was elated that I provided the minimum requirement of 90ml well within four of completing the race ÔÇô This was necessary to ratify the new record.

“My dream is that my performance may inspire other South African walkers (and athletes) to follow their dreams to Rio and 2020. To young Pierre Vermaak {promising junior walker, injured in a car accident almost exactly a year ago], you have the platform and the opportunity to excel and your time will come in 2020.

“To all my training partners, follow your walking dreams firstly to Moscow next year, then to Beijing in 2015 and finally to Rio. May it not be another 52 years before a male walker represents South Africa at the Olympics.”