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PROTRACK » GENERAL » Excellent 'Must Read' Interview with Craig Mottram

Excellent 'Must Read' Interview with Craig Mottram

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This is a fantastic, insightful interview with Craig Mottram on Runners Tribe. Well worth reading confirming why Runners Tribe one of the best athletic websites on the net.

Click on the link below.

Craig Mottram


Craig Mottram on track for second tilt at world title

* Scott Gullan
* From: Sunday Herald Sun
* August 21, 2011 12:00AM

Craig Mottram trains at Olympic Park on Friday night. Picture: Jay Town Source: Herald Sun

IT'S the question Craig Mottram has asked himself many times and one that has come his way a lot recently. Can he get back to where he was?

Before the answer can be explored, there needs to be some context about the question. We're not talking your regulation climb the mountain, slide down and then scramble back up like nothing has changed scenario.

This mountain was the Everest of track and field.

Until Mottram broke through the ceiling by collecting the bronze medal in the 5000m at the 2005 world championships, no white man had threatened the dominance of the Africans.

The Australian, nicknamed "The Big Mzungu" by his rivals, became the first non-African man in 18 years to win a medal in the event.

Today Mottram leaves for Daegu, South Korea, the home of this year's world championships, in the first meaningful step he's taken for three years towards getting back on the mountain.

Start of sidebar. Skip to end of sidebar.

End of sidebar. Return to start of sidebar.

"I'm excited about the fact that I can run and I'm confident that I can run better than I have before," he says. "In saying that, it doesn't necessarily mean running faster than I have.

"It just means running smarter, running other events and getting results that I possibly haven't got before. What I am doing is enjoying running a lot more.

"I am certainly not at my best and I won't be in the next two weeks (in Daegu), that's impossible, I can't be, but that doesn't mean I can't go and do my best.

"We just have to be realistic. I am and I think most of the people who follow me are. They understand that anything from here on is a bonus and we've seen enough this year to show that I'm going to be competitive next year - and that's exciting."

Mottram's fall began at the Beijing Olympics when injury interrupted his preparation and he bombed spectacularly in the heats of the 5000m. It triggered a period of soul-searching and was followed by a serious achilles problem that kept him out of action for almost two years.

"I stopped in 2008 when I was 28 years old and probably in a lot of people's minds that's the peak in a middle-distance athlete's career in terms of age," he said.

"I don't believe that I have lost those years in terms of my best running. I think they add on to the end of my career. My body was speaking to me at that time telling me I needed a break - my mind and my body.

"If I didn't listen to it I might be retired right now, in fact I would be retired right now.

"The fact I was confident enough in understanding my body and mind to say, 'Right, I need to step away for as long as it takes to get it right', that has probably allowed me to put myself in a position now to be as good, if not better, than I have ever been before.

"Age is irrelevant in this, it's enthusiasm. Ask Cadel Evans how old he is, he's 34 or 35. Bernard Lagat is still one of the best runners in the world at 37 or 38."

Mottram enjoyed his time being Mr Anonymous. He bought a house in Melbourne, got engaged, finished a university degree and reacquainted himself with family and friends. "I enjoyed that, but I did miss running," he said.

"I didn't miss the travel but I missed the routine of training and I missed the feeling of being fit.

"One of the biggest challenges of this sport is that it does have to end at some point.

"When it does you have to figure out something else to do and the last couple of years have given me a little bit of a look on the other side. I've put in place a system so the transition will be easier.

"It puts in perspective other things that you could and want to do, but not yet."

Mottram made significant changes to his support network post-Beijing, splitting from long-time manager/coach Nic Bideau and joining Chris Wardlaw, the former coach of marathon runner Steve Moneghetti.

He also switched major sponsors, leaving Nike after almost a decade and joining rival adidas.

Two weeks ago Mottram found himself the centre of attention again during the Diamond League meet in London where he demolished the field in the 5000m to win by almost the length of the straight.

It certainly captured the attention of Lagat, the 2007 world champion, who posted a message on Twitter congratulating the return of the Australian.

"The level of competition wasn't great," Mottram said about his victory at Crystal Palace in 13min 23.97sec.

"But I was surprised at how many people wanted to interview me after the race, that was certainly a throwback to the old days.

"I just have to pick something out of every race and in London I felt like I needed to win. I knew it wasn't a great competitive field, but I needed to learn how to win again."

Mottram, whose career best time is still 12:55.76 which he ran in 2004, says he's not alarmed by what he's seen happen in 5000m racing over the past couple of years.

"There are some new faces and there are certainly some brilliant athletes in my event, but I don't think on the whole they're doing anything we weren't doing four or five years ago," he said.

"I'm certainly not able to do what I was doing four or five years ago yet. I'm getting beaten quite convincingly by these guys, but it's quite exciting for me because I think it wasn't that long ago I could do what they are doing now.

"In 12 months from now I should be able to compete. There's nothing I see which tells me I'm really up against it. It looks possible.

"Can I do it? Yes. Will I? We'll wait and see."

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