Core Concentration

Hottest Coach in the Country!


He is one of the most experienced and well-known coaches in the country under whose watchful eye many elite athletes and average Joe’s have achieved the ultimate running glory and elusive personal bests. Now you too can be coached by John Hamlett himself! This month sees the launch of the Modern Athlete coaching programme which will make it possible for anyone – from an average walker or runner to an elite athlete – to be coached by the Modern Athlete coaching team, headed up by one of the best in the business. – BY MICHELLE PIETERS

Many of us have been running for years, chasing elusive PBs and hoping each year that it would be our best running year ever. Often we are disappointed when the opposite happens and our times actually get slower and slower. Sometimes we get advice from running buddies or from articles in sporting magazines and our times do improve slightly, but more often than not our running stays stuck in a rut!

Then, on the other end of the scale there are the novices who end up frustrated with injuries due to incorrect training methods. This sometimes completely puts them off the sport of running and often even drives them to cycling!

Our very own Modern Athlete online coaching programme now gives you the opportunity to receive an online coaching programme from one of the best coaches in the country.
Don’t be fooled into believing that coaching programmes
are just for long-distance junkies. Our programmes cover
all distances, which means that if you are a 10km addict,
a goal-driven walker or a Comrades devotee, an individualised programme can be constructed for you.

The programmes will be available for beginners to advanced runners.
Your first step is to log onto
the Modern Athlete website
( and complete a questionnaire to help us individualise your programme.

You will then receive
bi-weekly programmes
from our team headed up by John, who will take all of your goals, current training methods, injuries, previous best times, personal and work circumstances, medical history and much more into consideration before we supply you with the best programme to suit your needs!

Also, an interactive online feedback programme will be available, on which you can interact with John and our team and keep us updated on your progress or bring up any worries you might have regarding your training. We will help with slight adjustments to your programme if need be.
You will be coached in
eight-week cycles for a monthly fee of R249, that’s only R8.30 a day to be
coached by the best. Further to this, Modern Athlete will hold regular coaching seminars for members.
We don’t want to give it all away right now, so for more information log onto our website and find
out how our coaching team can take you from zero to hero!

John is no stranger to running. He ran his first marathon at the age of 15 and has been coaching elite and average athletes
for over 30 years. He has a marathon PB of 2:20 and a 10km sub-34min PB.

John is more recently known for his successes with top athletes such as Andrew Kelehe (2001 Comrades winner), Yolandi MacLean (two times Comrades gold medallist), Fusi Nhlapo (2003 Comrades Champion), Lindsay van Aswegen (eighth lady and second South African woman home at Comrades 2010) and Fanie Matshipa (fifth in a time of 5:39 at Comrades 2010).

This former police colonel has come a long way in running circles and has helped more than 30 athletes achieve Comrades gold and more than ten achieve Two Oceans gold. In earlier years he was very involved with the former Liberty Nike running team, which won the team trophy at Comrades a few years ago.

John was recently appointed by South Africa’s top selling car manufacturer, Toyota, as coach of the up-and-coming Team Toyota running club. The new team produced brilliant results at the recent Comrades Marathon and all eyes are on this team to become a powerhouse in years to come.

Don’t feel intimidated; John does not only coach elite runners. Over the last few years he has made a name for himself as the Average Joe’s coach. In many cases his average athletes have achieved not only what they thought was impossible, but more often than not have lost weight in the process. “One of the runners I have coached went from 140kg to 75kg and a six pack in only one year.”

On top of this John has coached schoolchildren, duathletes, triathletes and track athletes. “In all sport disciplines the same training principles apply; the principles of the body don’t change, only the mechanics of it. All disciplines need the same facets; the only difference is how you apply it.”

For any training programme to be successful, you have to be prepared to put in the work, warns John. “Firstly, you need to be prepared to change your eating habits if you are currently eating unhealthily. Believe it or not, an average runner has between 15-21% body fat! Runners believe they can eat anything because they run.”

John knows all about incorrect eating habits; in days gone by he was known as the Kentucky King. “I ate Kentucky at least four times a week! Then I went to Russia where I met a professor who taught me all about the science of nutrition. It made a big difference in my life and in those of my athletes.”

John believes that for any training or eating programme to be successful you need to be determined, seek professional guidance, concentrate on quality training, persevere and have realistic goals in place. He does not believe in so-called ‘bucket training’. “You can’t throw people in a bucket and make them all train the same way. Some might improve but only to a certain point. I believe it is important to first establish the individual’s strengths and weaknesses.”

Many of us find time an obstacle in our training; John’s training programme ensures that you train wisely in the time you have available. “If you only have an hour a day to invest, we will make sure that hour counts and that you train smart. Well-known runner Bob de la Motte only had 90 minutes a day to train and he made sure he spent this time well.”

If you train alone without any guidance your running sometimes becomes a bit of a guessing game, says John. “While
I was running competitively I was constantly guessing. One always wonders if you are doing the right thing. Also, often you can’t judge yourself objectively and worry if you have done enough or should have done more. Often many runners don’t even know when they are peaking while others rest so many days before Comrades that they are actually unfit come Comrades day! Runners are too emotionally involved in their training. With a structured coaching programme you know exactly what the next phase is and what you are working towards.”

Runners also tend to find the easy way out and not always the best way. “Many times we run the same 10km route every day and think that what we are doing is okay because we are building up enough kilometres to log in our logbooks. The sad thing is this will not make you a stronger and faster runner.”

Someone once asked what makes for a good elite runner and was answered, “What God left out, I can’t put in.” John believes that every runner has an ability that can be refined, often surpassing their wildest dreams. “There are so many things we can strengthen and perfect in our running. Look at Andrew Kelehe; in 2001 he ran an average of 3:39min/km for the whole 89km. Scientists would have told you earlier that those times aren’t possible. Then along came Leonid Shvetsov and he ran even faster! I believe with the right guidance and training we can all do so much more than we ever thought possible.”

John has what all brilliant coaches should have: passion!
“I can’t imagine a better job in the world. Every day I meet new and amazing people. People involved in sport are out there to better themselves. You will not find a washout that runs everyday!
Most runners want to improve and everybody
out there has their own goals that make them
special. With the right coaching most runners
will achieve brilliantly!”