Wim Luijpers is the Grand Grasp

Main Kiwi Masters Athlete Wim Luijpers is defying all logic and working faster than ever regardless of his advancing years. Steve Landells spoke to the North Harbour Bays membership member about his exceptional journey. 

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Like a tremendous wine Wim Luijpers simply retains getting higher with age.

The 51-year-old, who lives on the tiny island of Rakino within the Hauraki Gulf, clocked a blistering 1500m mark of 4:12.0 in Papakura in November – simply three seconds shy of the nationwide report – his quickest time since re-engaging with the game six years in the past.

But how is it that Wim manages to attain such phenomenal outcomes and run sooner instances when all logic would say he must be slowing down?

To search out out extra we have to discover extra Wim’s story in additional element – a narrative which straddles three continents, an revolutionary working technique, a best-selling guide and a unusual fashion of coaching restricted largely to a hilly 1.8km piece of gravel highway.

Born within the Netherlands, Wim moved together with his Dutch household to stay in Auckland on the age of three. As a schoolboy whereas attending Takapuna Grammar College he found a present for working and got here below the teaching steerage of Arthur Lydiard disciple Jack Ralston and Dave Norris amongst others. He was ok to achieve New Zealand Secondary Colleges finals and set PB marks of 1:50 for the 800m and three:50 for the 1500m however whereas he cherished the motion of working and coaching together with his mates he admits: “I by no means used to work very exhausting. I used to be referred to as the cat as a result of I used to be fairly lazy. I usually did the minimal quantity of labor to get the outcomes.”

Wim took up a scholarship on the College of Connecticut and it was throughout his time within the US he grew to become intrigued by the Feldenkrais Methodology – a type of body-oriented intervention designed to assist individuals reconnect with their our bodies by studying to maneuver with higher effectivity.

After one yr at Connecticut he give up to extra actively pursue a higher curiosity within the Feldenkrais Methodology – which works on re-educating the nervous system and making it doable for adults to re-learn entrenched motion patterns. Out of this emerged a brand new system for working which Wim created termed ‘Mild Working.’

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He later relocated to Austria and labored for a interval with a health care provider who suggested working as a de-stress software for businessmen – with Wim readily available to use his motion fundamentals to largely novice runners.

“It was wonderful as I’d instantly be getting businessman to say why their knee instantly didn’t damage anymore,” he explains. “One such man was the CEO of Austrian TV who stated he’d like to have the data I’d taught him written down. I stated, ‘I can’t actually write that effectively in German’ however he replied, ‘no worries as a result of I can as journalist’ and so we labored on the guide Mild Working.

The guide develop into a best-seller, shifting 150,000 copies and reworked Wim’s life. In a single day he grew to become an enormous title in Austria usually showing on TV and radio. He carried out common seminars in Austria, Germany and Switzerland wrote an extra 5 books and labored with an entire vary of individuals not solely on this planet of working however serving to to enhance the motion patterns of everybody from the world-beating Austrian ski crew to musicians and dancers.

“I’ve had individuals come to me unable to do issues they’ve wished to due to damage, however by way of the change in motion patterns these accidents have cleared up,” explains Wim. “I really like that feeling of giving individuals the possibility to do issues that they like to do.”

Round six years in the past he returned to New Zealand deciding on Rakino Island together with his accomplice. Initially dividing his time between Rakino and Europe it was whereas again in his homeland of NZ the place he reconnected as soon as extra with the aggressive facet of working.

Impressed to slide on his spikes and head to the monitor at AUT Millennium in Auckland he ran six 200m in round 30 seconds. He stunned himself not solely how simple it felt however how a lot enjoyable it was to run that quick once more and for the primary time in practically 30 years since his time on the College of Connecticut he as soon as once more pursued the game competitively.

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“Russ Hoggard (the Auckland-based coach) was watching (the six 200s) and he advised me, ‘mate, you might be fast sufficient to run with the seniors by no means thoughts the masters. On the age of 46 I obtained again into coaching and obtained myself prepared for the 2017 North Island Masters Championships.”

Regardless of solely finishing a few monitor periods, Wim broke the North Island M45 report within the 1500m and inside one second of the North Island 800m M45 report to finish the middle-distance double at Inglewood. But the Kiwi admits he was barely perplexed by what he had achieved that day.

“Having run 3:50 as a child, at the moment I didn’t realise the instances had been good in any respect,” he explains. “All I knew is the occasion damage loads as a result of I’d by no means run it for practically 30 years!”

Since then, Wim has swept all earlier than him as a Masters Athlete, successful quite a few highway, cross nation and monitor titles. Nevertheless, presumably essentially the most spectacular a part of his success is that he’s now working sooner than ever throughout his time as a Masters Athlete.

Final March he chipped two seconds from the M50 mile report of 1964 Olympic 1500m bronze medallist John Davies, posting a swift 4:37.15. This yr he trimmed an extra three seconds from his 1500m PB as a Masters Athlete with a 4:12.0 in Papakura.

So what half has Mild Working performed in his progress?

“It’s performed a really large half,” he admits. “I undertake a really mild strategy to not solely coaching however how I take care of my physique,” he explains. “I’ve actually experimented over the previous couple of years what works for me. It isn’t about particular coaching guides however listening to the physique.”

Based mostly on Rakino island and restricted to coaching on an especially steep 1.8km gravel highway his coaching strategies are removed from textbook. Working round 100km every week his coaching is extra primarily based off really feel and on 4 speeds – simple, regular, strong and exhausting.

Along with his longest runs of something between 21-28km he says a lot of his runs are progressive – by which he runs slightly faster every lap of the island.

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“The coaching may be very natural, I develop with the coaching and if I really feel slightly niggle right here or there I again off,” he explains.

Based mostly in New Zealand for the previous two years as a result of Covid restrictions haven’t allowed him to return to Europe, his kind has gone on an enormous upward pattern over the previous couple of years. Final season he not solely secured the M50 New Zealand mile report in his last monitor race of the home marketing campaign he additionally scalped six seconds from his 1500m PB, working 4:15.

Taking the shape into the winter he set a New Zealand 10km M50 highway report of 34:45, remained unbeaten throughout the cross-country season in his age-group and in his first race of the season on Auckland’s North Shore he raced to a powerful 3000m victory courtesy of a blistering final lap of 61 seconds.

“It was a sluggish race however I’d be pleased with a 61-second final lap in any race I run!” he remarks.

The 4:12 time set in Papakura supplied but additional proof of his excellent present kind.

For the long run he hopes to run a sub-nine-minute 3000m (his present greatest is 9:13) whereas he’s additionally focusing on a sub-4:10 1500m (the nationwide report is 4:09) and a 2:05 800m. He doesn’t have a want to compete internationally, however Wim nonetheless has one main purpose for the long run – the world 1500m M55 report of 4:12.35 set by Aussie Keith Bateman.

“I’d like to in the future decrease that mark,” he explains. “The John Davies mile report took three years of planning, so I wish to have longer targets to work in direction of.”

But what’s it concerning the pleasure of working that appeals to Wim?

“It isn’t a lot about the place I’m working however extra the motion itself,” he explains. “I don’t ever use Strava or put on a heart-rate monitor as a result of I don’t assume they’re needed to achieve good outcomes. My coaching is much more natural. I really like that feeling of my toes touching the bottom and the propulsion that comes out by way of the joints and hips. It’s the sensation of working that brings the enjoyment.”

Article courtesy of Athletics New Zealand – https://athletics.org.nz/