Filipino distance runner Rene Herrera has been running for a while now. But 33-year-old Navyman still remembers exactly when he first took up the sport.
“Third year high school,” said the seaman second class, recalling his days running in his school’s intramurals.
It wasn’t long before Herrera was running in local marathons, and eventually making the national team in 2003, where he competed and won the 3000m steeplechase in the Southeast Asian Games for the first time.
He’s won the gold medal in every SEA Games since, a total of five straight golds in the biennial sporting meet for the region.
In London, though, he won’t be entered in his pet event but rather in the men’s 5000m.
In preparation for the Olympics, he joined the 5000m event at the Hong Kong Inter-City Athletic Championships where he finished second with a time of 15:01.73, just two seconds behind the winner.
He admitted at the time, about a month before the London Games, that he was just at around 80 percent.
He’ll have his work cut out for him in London, though, where 2008 Olympics gold medalist Kenenisa Bekele of Ethiopia, the man who holds both the world and Olympic records, will be having another go at the medal.
Herrera’s personal-best, 14:51.40, is a couple of minutes off the pace of Bekele, who clocked an Olympic-best 12:57.82 in Beijing four years ago.
Herrera stated that he hopes to make the final, advancing past the early qualifying heats.
Catch Rene Herrera in action on Wednesday, August 8, beginning 5 p.m. on AKTV.
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