News & Updates
Wheelchair racer Jaden seeks stellar time at Runway5
The fast, flat course for the Runway5 on Sunday (7 May) is not only an attractive proposition for the able-bodied athletes but it is also an enticing prospect for New Zealand’s leading men’s wheelchair racer Jaden Movold, who hopes to produce something special at the concluding event of the 2023 Red Stag Rotorua Marathon.
The 18-year-old Auckland-based psychology student has enjoyed a stellar 2023 campaign, setting a slew of PB’s on the track and posting a New Zealand national U20 T54 10km road record of 27:53 at the Waterfront Half Marathon in Auckland last month.
Now he is turning his hand to the 5km distance, and he can’t wait to test himself over his favourite distance on the runway at Rotorua Airport.
“The Runway5 gives me a chance to have a great hit out on a flat, fast straight surface with few turns,” says Jaden, who was born with spina bifida. “I’m looking forward to seeing how fast I can go and I definitely think I have a good opportunity to push faster than my track PB of 13:14, especially as the bends (on the track) can slow you down. That straightness on Runway5 will give me that edge and racing against our quickest 5k runners like Sam Tanner and Hayden Wilde (who will be competing as able-bodied athletes at a similar pace to Jaden) will also be quite cool.”
Jaden started his year with a bang competing as part of the GIO Summer Down Under Racing Series and the ACT State Champs in Australia – in which he was given the opportunity to race some of the world’s elite wheelchair racers.
The teenager responded positively by setting up to nine PB’s across the two meets in distances ranging from 100m to 5000m and he snared a bronze in the latter event as part of the 2023 Australian Championships.
More recently the 27:53 at the Waterfront 10km was “a real highlight”, so what factors does he believe has contributed to his rich vein of form?
“Over the past six months or so I’ve really tried to nail down what works for me at the big competitions,” explains Jaden, who trains an average of between 40-60km per week under the guidance of his high performance coach James Kuegler. “For me, that comes down to communication with my coaches, what is the best way to plan your training and then what tactics do I employ on race day. Training, communication and mental preparation play an important role.”
The Runway5 will serve another key role in providing the final hit out before Jaden leaves for Europe to compete in three competitions in Switzerland – climaxing with the World Para Athletics Grand Prix in Nottwil. Regarded as the fastest wheelchair track in the world and boasting a stellar line up of superstar names, the event will serve up an inviting opportunity for the developing New Zealand racer.
“To compete at an event with hundreds of the top wheelchair racers is exciting. To race on the fastest track in the world gives me an opportunity to get some fast times and, who knows, maybe a qualifying time for the Kobe 2024 Para Athletics World Championships.”
***To enter the Runway5 – which forms the climax to the Red Stag Rotorua Marathon on Sunday 7 May – go here
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