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Red-hot Van Dyk overcomes the chill to claim another NYC Half title
- Updated: March 21, 2016
By Mark Etheridge
It may have been freezing cold with icy gusts of wind but South Africa’s Ernst van Dyk was on fire to defend his New York Half 21.1-kilometre wheelchair title in the US on Sunday.
And the Paarl powerhouse raced his way to a course record just for good measure, covering the tricky course in 47min 37sec to beat his own course record of last year by more than a minute.
’It was cold, very cold,’ Van Dyk told Road to Rio 2016 as he warmed up ahead of his flight back home via London. Temperatures flirted with the 0 degrees Celsius mark and gusts of wind up to 33kph meant the windchill factor was well below zero.
Because of the temperatures Van Dyk wasn’t able to take as much out of the win as he’d hoped for.
‘The cold meant I was tight all the way and fighting with myself trying to find a good rhythm. I really wanted to go 45min so I was a little disappointed with my time although I still smashed that course record.
‘Now with three weeks before Boston I need to focus and keep at what I’ve been doing and get to the starting line as prepared as I can be. Right now I need to work at my speed endurance level to get it to an an optimal level.’
With the lucrative Abbott Wheelchair Majors making their debut this year, the competitive levels will go up another notch and it doesn’t make it any easier being a Paralympic year.
‘Everybody is going to be in Boston and London and they’ll all have the same goal as me… get to the lane first.’
American Aaron Pike was runner-up on Sunday, a minute and 10sec behind the flying Van Dyk.
Also in action on Sunday was 2012 Olympics marathoner Lusapho April who ended sixth in the elite men’s race. The Eastern Cape athlete clocked 62:28 as Kenya’s Stephen Sambu won in 61:16.