Modern Athlete Magazine Issue 166 March 2024 | Page 15




And the

Winners Are …

In our February edition , we announced that for the first time since it was launched in 2009 , Modern Athlete magazine is presenting a comprehensive annual Modern Athlete of the Year Awards , to recognise as many deserving South African athletes as we can , for their performances in 2023 , across all the disciplines of athletics and running that we cover in this mag . And here , after putting our heads together and discussing , comparing , tabulating and debating , are our winners for 2023 ! – BY MANFRED SEIDLER , STEPHEN GRANGER , ALTUS SCHREUDER & SEAN FALCONER
Images : Barco Greeff , Tobias Ginsberg , Zac Zinn

When it comes to the sport of running , there are a number of disciplines – or codes , if you prefer – and those are in turn divided into a number of subdivisions , some official , some more due to practical considerations . It ’ s extremely hard to compare them all to each other , because they all have different requirements when it comes to speed , endurance , technique and more . For that reason , we have gone big , so to say , with these inaugural Modern Athlete of the Year Awards .

We started by breaking our awards into the broad categories of road , trail , track and field , and cross country . We then broke those down into what we feel are obvious and fair sub-categories – where apples can be compared to apples , instead of oranges , pears and other fruits – and thus road and trail have three distinct distance categories each , while track and field consists of the four main disciplines that make up athletics .
We ’ ve Got All the Winners
We were not prescriptive in the number of nominees per category – it depended on the performances of the athletes . We also did not limit athletes to being nominated in just one category , because this
country has some super-versatile athletes that do well at various distances . All in all , we ’ re proud to say that we are recognising a more diverse number of disciplines and athletes , because we ’ ve seen other organisations , platforms or publications try this before , and sometimes their awards have been oversimplified , too broad , or too focused on just one of the codes of athletics .
Of course , we know that nominating people for awards can be subjective – one person ’ s opinion may be very different to the next person ’ s – so we fully expect that athletes and readers may disagree with some of our choices . Nevertheless , we believe that this is a solid starting point for these inaugural awards , and something we can build on and take still further for the next year ’ s awards . Who knows , perhaps we may even get to a stage where we have a swanky awards function !
Now , that ’ s enough of an opening monologue … let ’ s get this awards show on the road . ( And the track , and the trail ). Turn to the next pages and check out all the winners in the inaugural 2023 Modern Athlete of Year Awards ! We also managed to track a few of them down to get their reactions .
Modern Athlete of the Year Categories
ROAD RUNNING 1 Shorter Distances – 5km to 21.1km 2 Up to Marathon Distances – 25km to 42.2km 3 Ultra-marathon Distances – Beyond 42.2km
TRAIL RUNNING 1 Short Distances & Mountain Running – up to 32km 2 Marathon Distances – 33km to 49km 3 Ultra-trail Distances – Beyond 50km
TRACK AND FIELD 1 Sprints & Hurdles 2 Middle Distances 3 Field Events : Jumps 4 Field Events : Throws
CROSS COUNTRY 1 Athlete of the Year