Gena Lofstrand

“I like cycling, and doing duathlons. I used to compete at World Champs for duathlon, but now I just cycle for fun. That’s what I used to do! It’s a run, cycle, run. So 5km run, 20km cycle, and 2.5km run at the end. Like triathlon just no swimming. When I started track running, it felt like nothing compared to that! I also used to do mountain biking, which is super tough! That’s why I love track!”

These are the words of 800m specialist Gena Lofstrand! Coached by Victor Vaz, she trains at the Kingspark track in Durban. She went to St Mary’s DSG, but is taking a gap year to focus on her running. Which seems to have payed off as she ran a World Junior qualifier this year of 2:06, 2 seconds off her pb of 2:04! With this time she finished just behind Monique Stander who also qualified. Not long after this she got an injury and that’s why she didn’t compete at the SA Champs this year but she is still hoping to be ready at the time that World Juniors comes.

Gena has won gold medals at SA schools. juniors, seniors and SA Open last year! But she has much higher goals than that, “I hope to medal at diamond leagues and other world champs in the years to come, with my main goals revolving around the Olympics in 2016!”. Gena also aims to run a sub 2min on the 800m very soon and believes that the 2min barrier is more a mindset than it is physical. These are exactly the same words Johan Cronje, Johan Botha and Juan van Deventer uses when asked why they could break the 3:37 barrier on the 1500m whilst other SA athletes struggle.

Lofstrand shocked the running community when she took on the big names at Senior SA’s and coming back with the title. She is someone who runs hard from the gun and believes in running for times and doesn’t believe in these tactical races. This is a character trait of a runner that SA National coach and coach of Hoerskool Centurion, Dion Saayman, really admires. We look forward to see what this young lady does in the future and maybe, just maybe she’ll be the one to take down the SA 800m record held by Caster Semenya at 1:55.45?

“Seeing other athletes do well definitely inspires me, and my coach is also very good at motivating me. My coach played a big role in helping me get to where I am today, as well as my family and friends who support me. I’m very grateful for how blessed I have been, and for all the people who have helped me get this far. But I still have a long way to go!” – Gena Lofstrand

EC Media Manager – Adriaan Aldridge