Viljoen GenesMother, Elise Viljoen, has run a 35:52 on the 10km and was second on the 21km at a SAU and in her heyday palmed in plenty provincial colors. Father, Gerhard Viljoen, has a best 1500m time of 3:46 and a 4min mile at University, also a 30:30 on 10km and 7hours on the comrades. These are the parents of Randburg High middle distance athlete Carina Viljoen, and no doubt the running genes has been passed on to their daughter looking at her accomplishments so far:

2011

  •  School’s athletics – 1500m 3rd
  • School’s cross country – 4th
  • Clubs cross country – 5th

2012

  • School’s and Clubs one event – 3000m & 1500m – 1st
  • School’s cross country – 1st
  • Clubs cross country – 1st

2013

  • School’s athletics – 3000m & 1500m – 1st
  • Clubs athletics – 3000m & 1500m – 1st
  • School’s cross country – 1st
  • Clubs cross country – 1st

2014

  • School’s athletics – 3000m – 3rd, 1500m – 1st
  • Clubs athletics – 1500m & 3000m – 1st

Not only that, but she has also represented SA at World Youth Games in 2013 for the 1500m where she ran a 4:28.42 in the heats and a 4:30.36 in the final. “I learned that anything is possible for anyone” , and saying this a quote came to her mind, a quote of former president Nelson Mandela – “It always seems impossible until it’s done”. Previously we did an article on training partner Jana van der Merwe and mentioned the devastating combination of Jana, Carina and Elise Viljoen as coach, how did this all start?

“I did my first 1200m in grade 3 and came third behind Jana and that was like my calling because I always lost in the 100m’s. My mother told me all kinds of stories of Zola Budd because they were training buddies. So Zola was my idol. But as I grew up the people I started looking up to was the ones I knew personally like Helene Swanepoel, Rene Kalmer, Danel Prinsloo and Nolene Conrad.

In grade 3 when I started, according to my mother, I attended one session with the school coach and when she came to fetch me I was in tears because I’ve only been doing one round around the track and I had to do like 13. After that my mother started attending training sessions with a stopwatch and whistle and she kept an eye on us and went everywhere with us.

Then in grade 4 a really good new coach started who was an athlete herself and she coached us for 2 years, she was amazing, she made me fall in love with the sport. Then she moved away and my mother jumped back in. And ever since it’s been my mother. She is an amazing coach and completely puts away her ‘mother’ role on the athletics track. Jana and I have been running together forever. Our friends at primary at one stage just stopped asking us how it went at the events as Jana always took position 1 and me 2. We’ve been training together from grade 3. Jana at one stage left us for year when she was 11 but when she heard my mother is coaching us again she came back.”

Well need we say any more? What an awesome talent, and not just that but she is the most humble being and surely will one day become that idol to others that Zola Budd was to her!

EC Media Manager – Adriaan Aldridge