After years of being hounded by injuries, things looked up on Sunday for Ate van der Burgt when he became the Dutch champion in the 1500 metres during the national indoor athletic meet in Apeldoorn.
The new phase of his running life does not have strict schedules or a trainer. 'I train irregularly and less. I let my activities be guided by the weather and on how tired I am.'
That little bit of training on the side appeared to be enough to push a recovered Van der Burgt to a surprisingly fast eight hundred metres two weeks ago, less than a second from the limit of the European indoor championship, which will be held in early March in Paris. On Sunday, after a long finishing sprint, he was more than three counts above the qualification limit for the 1500 metres.
The itch has returned. 'I am fit, and therefore, I want to run. I'm trying to schedule a competition with several 800 and 1500-metre runners who also want to qualify. I realize that I am in good condition now, but who knows what will happen in the summer. Perhaps it's better to make the most of this unexpected moment now.'
On Monday, this happy PhD candidate treated his colleagues at the Bioinformatics Group and the Laboratory for Phytopathology to cake. Cheerfully, Van der Burgt had a double helping. 'After such a national championship weekend, extra food always comes into the picture.'