|2008 Olympic Games|
Taylor is a talented middle-distance runner, five-time podium finisher at the Canadian Track & Field Championships and represented Canada at the 2008 Olympic Games in the 1500-metres. Over the past few years Taylor has taken on a new challenge, the 3000-metres steeplechase.
AC: The men’s steeplechase is arguably one of Canada’s deepest events. How does it feel to be vying for a spot to represent in the major international meets?
TM: The steeplechase is very good up front for sure with the Canadian record holder (Matt Hughes) and another World Championship finalist (Alex Genest). I am however dating a runner who competes in the women’s 800-metres and I think I would have to give it to those ladies right now in term of Canadian depth. I joined the event thinking I could compete at a high level and I still think I can. Having a couple of guys make a big breakthrough this past year is going to make it challenging to make teams over the next few years.
AC: What has been the hardest part of converting from the 1500-metres to the steeplechase? How do you deal with the bumps in the road?
TM: The obvious answer is the hurdles. I definitely improved over the season but need to get better. I also find the pacing a bit tricky. It feels very relaxed at first but if you get a bit over your head the legs get heavy and the hurdling becomes difficult. Running is a tough sport and there are going to be tough times. The first half of last season was going well. I was knocking time off each time out and even hit a World “B” standard. Unfortunately, I had a couple of falls that cost me. So I have to remember both the good and the bad. I think I proved I could be a factor in the event. But when I am training I need to remember that I have to get a lot better at the water jump and hurdling in general. It keeps me hungry.
AC: Speaking of bumps, you had a couple of rough falls on the final water barrier last year, but you got up and finished each race. When those events happened what were your initial thoughts and how were you able to muster the strength to get up and cross the finish line?
TM: The first fall at the Speed River Inferno happened quickly and before I knew it I was on my back looking up at the lights. People around the track got on me pretty quick to make sure I was alright. I could hear people wondering if I was hurt. My parents were at the track watching as well as some kids I coach from the community. I just wanted to get up and finish so they knew I was okay.
The fall at nationals happened a bit slower. I knew I was going down before I hit the ground. My upper body just got ahead of my lower body and I was leaning really far forward. I almost saved it but was unable to. One word went through my head but I won’t repeat it. I probably would have just lied there this time but someone yelled, “you still have them” so I hopped up and tried to catch my two teammates Alex and Chris. But whoever yelled that was a big liar and I quickly realized this. My legs were shot and those guys were moving. My momentum was going towards the finish line so I finished but was not moving very fast.
AC: How does Team Canada’s best ever performance at Worlds motivate you going into the season?
|2012 Olympic Trials|
TM: It was nice to see for sure. But it was not fun having to watch it from my couch. That is my motivation.
AC: What are your goals and aspirations for 2014?
TM: Run much faster in the steeplechase. Make the Commonwealth Games and run well. I also plan to run more 1500-metres again and get back to 3:36 shape and hopefully beyond.
AC: What aspects of your training and technique are you working to improve on in 2014?
TM: I am just trying to get more comfortable going over the hurdles, use both legs and stop stutter stepping so much. As mentioned above I will also go back to the 1500-metres a bit more this year. I think that speed will help a lot if I can stay on my feet at the end of the race.
AC: What are you most looking forward to on your trip to Montreal for the AC Indoor Open?
TM: Running a fast 3000-metres and then eating a greasy poutine!
The 2014 AC Indoor Open will take place in Montreal, Que., March 14 – 16 at the newly renovated Centre Claude-Robillard. The event serves as a Canadian Championship for youth and junior athletes and will feature a number of Olympians and World Championship national team members in invitational events. For more information and to register for the inaugural AC Indoor Open visit www.indoors.athletics.ca.