Starting the season well might be something of an understatement for vegan track athlete Andreas Vojta.
Weeks ago the Austrian took a win over 1500 m distance despite focussing on 3000m and 5000m. Next he turned his attention to 3000 m in Linz at the Gul Indoor meet where he faced a strong field where he was not considered the favourite.
Taking the lead for the last section of the race, he was beaten into second towards the end, although he took two seconds off his indoor best (now 7:52.75) which is also inside his outdoor best. The runner who beat Andreas ran the fastest time in Europe so far this year to do so.
It’s a measure of Andreas’ fantastic form that this impressive result is not a cause of the celebration we might expect.
“I think this result was very solid for my first 3000m race of the season. Last year I would have been overwhelmed by this time, this year I´m not even 100% satisfied” Andreas told Great Vegan Athletes. “This shows me I´m in good shape and ready to run even faster times. Besides all this the race could have already been a first step for my qualification to the Olympic Games as it counts for the 5000m world ranking”.
This was also the all-time fastest time recorded from any runner from a Viennese club.
Catering was not ideal for a vegan runner, although Andreas adapted.
“My meals were not perfect before the race as they were restricted to steamed veggies with plain rice and pasta for the main meals and bread with jam only for breakfast. But for two days of travelling that´s not a big problem.”
On to Istanbul
There was little time for reflection before he moved on to the Balkans Athletics Championships. This was the 75th edition of this long running games which now features 22 nations. Before the games started, Austria had never had a Balkans champion.
The race presented a difficulty in that Andreas was leading comfortably from early on.
“Running 3000m alone and counting every lap and every second is not easy. That’s why I am even happier with my result of 7:54,78min – a time that would have been an indoor PB until last week.
“Being able to run such a time completely on my own at the moment gives me great confidence and I am already looking forward to the National Championships next weekend in Linz!”