For the first time since the 2000 Sydney Olympics, Canada will be represented in the men’s Olympic marathon at this summer’s games in London. With three athletes en route to the UK, it’s considered the largest men’s marathon contingent Canada has sent to the games since 1996.
Last week we caught up with one of these men, Eric Gillis, to see how he is feeling about the upcoming games.
Q: What’s been your motivation in qualifying for the London 2012 Olympics?
A: I went in 2008 for the 10,000 metre, and I didn’t perform as well as I’d hoped. At the closing ceremonies, when they were handing it over to London 2012 and Jimmy Page jumped out and started playing, I knew I had to be there. This Olympic thing had bit me in the butt and I knew I needed to get back to the Olympics to compete well; to walk away knowing that’s the best I can do, that’s the fastest I can run.
Q: What advice do you have for Canadians in their pursuits to stay motivated with fitness?
A: On the elite side, we change up our runs a lot. That works well for recreational running and athletics, too. Don’t feel like you have to run the same distances all the time. It’s about getting it in, getting out the door, getting out even in the rain. But try challenging yourself at least once a week and work as hard as you can that day.
Twelve weeks out from their August 12 Olympic race, the last event of the Olympics, Eric will be running an average of 200-210 km a week leading up to race day.
Their coach, Dave Scott-Thomas explained, “When you see them on August 12, that’s 0.0001 percent of what they’ve done up to that point.”
How do you stay motivated to get out and run?