She may call it a ‘rust-buster’ but South Africa’s Rio track Olympian Dominique Scott-Efurd’s season-opener at the weekend should be seen as an extremely polished one, writes MARK ETHERIDGE.
Indeed it produced a national indoor 3000-metre record, meaning the former Capetonian will move deeper into her 2017 season, her first as a professional athlete, in confident frame of mind.
Scott-Efurd took part in the IAAF World Indoor Tour meeting in Boston, Massachusetts and ended fifth in 8min 54.06sec after a whirlwind 15-lap effort. Winner was last year’s Olympic 5000m silver medallist Hellen Obiri of Kenya in 8:39.08.
The 24-year-old’s time was more than a second quicker than the previous national indoor best of 8:55.19 she ran in Fayetteville, Arkansas two years ago in March.
This year saw a longer than usual holiday in Cape Town earlier this year, but she showed she was in fine form on the road with a 53min 59sec 17th spot overall at the tough Bay to Bay 15km event between Hout Bay and Camps Bay.
Heading back to the States Scott-Efurd still had unfinished business. ‘Going into the New Balance Grand Prix I wanted to break my current South African indoor 3,000m record that I had run in March 2015, she told the SASCOC website.
‘However this was going to be my first race of the year and I had only been back training in the States for two weeks so I had no idea what to expect from myself. It’s always a bit nerve racking going into that first race of the year.
‘Normally I would run in a small meet in an odd event for my first race of the year to shake off the dust and cobwebs. I like to call it a rust buster! But due to staying in South Africa later into January this year I missed the opportunity to do that so my first race of the year was going to be at a much bigger meet. ‘
She needn’t have worried though as she was into her stride from the get-go. ‘I’m very pleased with how my season and year has started. I felt strong during the 15 laps and was able to pick up the pace and close hard. Now that I have run that first race of the year I’ll be more confident and relaxed going into my other competitions.’
Next up for Scott-Efurd, who ran the 10,000m at the Rio Olympics and placed 21st in a personal best, is the Wanamaker Mile in the prestigious Millrose Games on 11 February. ‘I’ll be looking to better my mile PR [4:31.57] which I set in that race last year.’
Looking ahead and if last year’s focus was on Rio, this year all roads lead to London, venue of the IAAF World Championships in August. ‘My goal for the year is to represent South Africa in both the 5,000m and 10,000m in London. All my races and training is geared around getting me ready for those championships, to be my best come London.’
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