From the soccer field to the track: A runner’s journey

From the soccer field to the track: A runner’s journey

Bashir Aidrus is the current mile and 5,000 meter run record holder at SMSU. At this year’s indoor conference meet at Minnesota State University-Mankato, Aidrus ran a time of 15:44 for the 5k. What is exceptional about Aidrus’s performance is that he only began running a year ago.

Last year Aidrus attended St. Cloud State University and ran his first race on March 12, 2016.

“I decided to run two to three weeks before that,” said Aidrus.

Aidrus became interested in running after a workout with the soccer club at St. Cloud. It was four laps around a mile and half route, running the distance of approximately ten kilometers. He ran the workout in 36 minutes.

“After that, I told myself I can do this, I can do the actual running,” he said. “After training for four months, I got good times for mile and 5k.”

Aidrus then had a friend put him in contact with Coach Dan Allen. The friend had been a teammate of Allen during his time at Saint Cloud.

Before becoming a runner, Aidrus played soccer. He doesn’t remember when he started playing soccer because he’s played it his whole life. His position was usually a striker or winger, playing offensively. He also played left back near the goalie on defense. As a soccer player, he did a lot of conditioning through running.

Many soccer players have transitioned to track and field. Some of America’s best distance runners, including three-time Olympian Galen Rupp, were soccer players first. According to Runner’s World, studies show that soccer players run an average of 6-7 miles per game. They often run explosively, speeding up spontaneously to chase the ball. The high amount of running that players do, and their ability to shift gears and sprint, transitions well into racing.

Aidrus found success becoming a distance runner, but he’s also had his challenges.

“In soccer, you don’t feel like stopping, but in running you get so tired you do want to stop,” Aidrus said.

Distance runners have to open their stride by extending the legs and relaxing the arms. Since Aidrus never had to worry about that in soccer, he says changing his stride has been his greatest challenge.

The training has also been different.

“You don’t have to run 90 miles in a week to be a good soccer player.”

Aidrus now runs high-mileage workouts and will possibly be doing two-a-day workouts during outdoor track season. Aidrus plans to run the 5k, 10k, and 3k steeplechase.

While he may have switched to track, Aidrus will still play a little soccer, even during track practice. He’ll kick any sports ball that rolls his way, much to the coach’s dismay.

“I love the game so much if I see the ball, I feel the connection and go for it,” Aidrus said.

Aidrus will run at his first outdoor meet at the Mustang Open hosted by SMSU. The meet will take place at the Marshall Regional Track & Field Complex, March 31 and April 1.