Cronje celebrates great season with another SA record | SASCOC - SASCOC

Cronje celebrates great season with another SA record

By Mark Etheridge

Hardly has his season come to an end than our new South African track record holder Johan Cronje is already plotting and planning bigger and better ÔÇô make that faster ÔÇô things for next season.

World Championships bronze medallist this year, Cronje smashed his own 1500-metre record in Rieti, Italy on Sunday and must be rueing the fact that the year’s track season is done.

Cronje, multiple national champion over the metric mile, ran 3min 31.93sec in finishing second to Kenya’s Silas Kiplagat (3:30.13). That improved on the 3:33:46 national mark he set in Doha earlier this year.

He took time out before his return to Bloemfontein to sum up his season for Road to Rio 2016. “It’s been a hectic but awesome season for me. I really couldn’t have asked for more but it definitely inspires me to do better next season.

“My season started off with a small injury but the doctor said I could train through the pain, which I did. Shortly afterwards I won SA Championships and a month after that got the national record in Doha.”

There followed a “not so good” three-week trip to Europe where he raced four races. “I picked up a bug or something there and training didn’t go well until about two weeks before World Championships.

“Then suddenly I was doing the training sessions like before Doha and knew I had a shot at a World Championships medal. I went home for seven days after Moscow before going back to Europe. There I ran in Zurich (a 3:34.06) and I was all over the place.

“So I knew I still had a shot at the SA record in my next 1500m. Then I had those two 800’s in Berlin and Brussels and both were in 1:45. Rieti was just two days after Brussels and I just thought of it as my last good effort to go for sub 3:33ÔǪ and I ended up going sub 3:32 (totally skipped 3:32!).

On the race itself Cronje will take much encouragement. “It felt much easier than I had expected and I believe I could have gone with Silas if I wasn’t that scared of the pace because I still felt good after finishing. So maybe next year I can go 3:30.”

Next up for the Bloemfontein blitz will be the World Indoors in March. “Then I’ll try to bring my 3000m time down to sub 7:40 and my 800m time down to 1:44. I want to leave my best 1500m for the Commonwealth Games (if I get selected!). That bronze medal has given me the confidence to go and fight for gold in Scotland.”