8:26.55…. only a mere 1.6 seconds faster than I had run previously but unquestionably the biggest 1.6 seconds of my life, taking me under the Olympic Standard of 8:28.0.
This “breakthrough” happened this past weekend in London’s Olympic Stadium – and what a venue she was! A sold out stadium (2 days in a row), 50,000 passionate track and field fans, Usain Bolt, Mo Farah, World Record Holders, Olympic Gold Medalists, & near perfect weather. If I couldn’t run fast in an atmosphere like that then, I’m not sure when I could. As I stood on the start line alongside my friend and teammate Taylor Milne, we both knew that opportunities like this are rare and this day was a day meant for special performances. I didn’t have to think much. I just needed to get on the pace, relax and go with it. As the race progressed I barely paid attention to the splits, I knew I was moving well. With 1km to go I could still feel the lead pack in front of me. With 2 laps to go I saw 6:12 on the clock and knew I needed at the very least a 2:15 last 800m to get under the Olympic standard. I knew I could do it. Coming down the home stretch I felt the heat from the pyrotechnics blasting and as I crossed the line under the Olympic Standard a sense of peace came over me. This was a standard I have been chasing for the past 20 years, since I first joined a track club at the age of 9. It’s been a long road and I had finally done it. wow!
While I have not actually qualified for the Olympics yet, I have hit a major mark in doing so. The next step is to finish in the top 3 at the National Championships next July. No easy feat. Right now we are seeing what the renaissance was to art, happen here in Canada in the sport of Track a field. Across all events we are seeing Canadians break records, win global medals, and raise the bar. Case in point – I am currently the 8th ranked Steeplechaser All-Time in Canadian History but, I’m still only the 4th fastest steeplechaser THIS year. I have work to do but, I am confident in my abilities and the team around me.
Thanks To My Team
We all know that a performance is not the result of a single person’s’ actions. It takes a whole team, and I am fortunate to have one of the best. From the beginning my family has been behind me. They have always believed in me, through all the ups and downs, injuries and successes. To this day they are still my biggest supporters. My team and coach (Speed River and Dave Scott Thomas) took me on when I was fresh out of university and only an 8:42 guy at the time. For some reason they believed in me when not many else did. They took me in and I remember when DST said early on that he thought I could run well under 8:30. (I thought he was nuts, but turns out he was right.) And then their is my sponsors. New Balance, Inbox Marketer, and Chocolate Milk. These are organizations that have chosen to support me and my Olympic dream and continue to do so. Without their support it would be impossible to do what I do. Thank You. And lastly my Fiancé and soon to be wife (that’s a word I’ll have to get used to) you have seen it all. The good days and bad, the nerves, the tears from injuries and failure, and the moments where everything comes together. Thank you for being there beside me through it all.
While no one knows what the next year and track season will bring, I hope to not let the Olympics define me as a person or my athletics career (whether I make the team or not). To do so would diminish everything else that this sport has given to me. I love this sport and I would not be the same person without it. The people and experiences it has given me have been priceless. I look forward to the challenges and experiences yet to come!