Zola Budd at 47 Outruns All Her College-Age Competitors in a 5K

Image: Zola Budd at 47 Outruns All Her College-Age Competitors in a 5K

Thursday, 10 Oct 2013 09:40 AM

By Clyde Hughes

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Former world record holder Zola Budd can still run fast at 47, as she proved last Saturday by beating all of her college-age competitors at the HBCU Challenge 5K in Cary, N.C.

Budd, who goes by her married name Zola Pieterse, ran a 17:47 on the 3.1-mile course, some 50 seconds faster than the first college finisher, according to NBC Sports. Known for running barefooted, Pieterse took to running shoes in whipping women less than half her age.

"This was a great event to take part in," Pieterse said in a YouTube video (below) after the race, posted on NBCSports Olympic Talk. "I haven’t been running under 18 minutes for quite a while. I’m pleased."

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The former South African running is now near Myrtle Beach, S.C. where she is watching her daughter, Lisa Pieterse, dominate high school meets.

Budd, who is probably most famous for colliding with U.S. distance running star Mary Decker Slaney during the 1984 Los Angeles Olympic Games, said on the video that running is a means to an end and should not be someone's entire life.

"Use running to enrich your life," Pieterse said of the advice she would give young runners today. "You need broad experiences in your life. There are things that are more important in your life, not just running. That's the biggest advice I could give to anyone."

Pieterse has also taken up running marathons since coming to the United States. In a New York Times story in 2008, Pieterse said people still ask if she still runs barefooted.

"I still can’t understand why people think it’s strange to run barefoot," Pieterse told the New York Times, explaining she grew up on a farm in Bloemfontein, South Africa. "It’s just a lifestyle. My kids went to school barefoot. It’s normal."

Pieterse became a hit on the international running circuit at 17 when she broke the 5,000 meter record in 1984. She competed in the 1984 Olympics for Great Britain because South Africa was banned from competing because of Apartheid, setting up her fateful Olympic collision with Slaney, according to South Africa History Online.

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Related stories:

Mary Decker Slaney Biopic Looks at Career Robbed of Olympic Gold

Suzy Favor Hamilton: Big Ten Trophy No Longer Named After Olympian

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