© Copyright – 2012 – Athletics Illustrated
Sheila Reid of Toronto, Ontario is seeking to represent Canada at the 2012 London Olympic Games in the 1500m or 5000m distance. The 23-year-old is in the final year of eligibility at Villanova University. She is considered to be the best or one of the best all-time track and field athletes to run for the school.
Reid is a nine-time All-American, two-time recipient of the Honda Sports Award in track and field as part of the The Collegiate Women Sports Awards program and two-time participant at IAAF World Cross Country Championships.
Reid finished fifth in the 5000m race at the Mt. SAC Relays Saturday, April 20th, achieving the Olympic B standard, finishing in 15:23.64. She just missed the A Standard of 15:20.00.
Despite all of her success, she has not won at the Penn Relays. When asked about this she told the Journal Register News Service of the PA Network, “Oh man, it’s a monkey on my back,” Reid said. “It’s pretty crazy that with all the success that I’ve had and the team has had I still can’t seem to tie down a Penn Relay’s wheel, but we’re working on it this year and we’re going to get it together for sure this year.”
1500m – 4:11.85
Mile – 4:35.30
3000m – 8:56.92
5000m – 15:23.64
Christopher Kelsall: How much of a role did coach Gina Procaccio influence your development as an athlete while at Villanova?
Sheila Reid: It goes without saying that Gina’s coaching has played a major role in my development. As a former US Champion, she understands both the mental and physical aspect of being an athlete.
CK: At what age did you decide that you wanted to get serious with your running? Was there a defining moment?
SR: I always considered myself a soccer player and I dreamed of going to the US on a scholarship. I started to train with a running club in 2004, but I didn’t love it and continued to play competitive soccer. My defining moment came after I won two silver medals at OFSAA in 2005 in the 1500m and 3000m. I was really disappointed I didn’t win, so I trained really hard that summer (instead of taking three months off of running to play soccer). The next cross country season I made my first junior national team.
CK: What positions did you play?
SR: I played mid-field mostly, but also left and right forward. Running definitely helped me develop my speed and endurance as a soccer player.
CK: So do you love the running now?
SR: I do. In my first couple years of high school I didn’t necessarily love running; I did it because it was something at which I was moderately successful. Maturity and competitiveness has fueled my love of the sport.
CK: You excel at both the 1500m and 5000m distances. You achieved the B Canadian Olympic standard at Mt. Sac with your 15:23. Are you going to work more towards achieving standard in the 1500m or continue pursuing the 5000m?
SR: The 5000m didn’t go as planned, as I was hoping to achieve the A standard, but it has always been in my plans to pursue the 1500m as well.
CK: How did the plan go awry? Was it simply performance related or was it a tactical issue?
SR: Perhaps a little of both. After a few laps I didn’t feel right, and tactically I was much too caught up with running a time as opposed to doing what I do best, which is racing. I’m disappointed that I missed the A standard and that I was so far off the lead, but I fought really hard during the last 2k.
CK: Having a 4:11.85 1500m personal best, what do you need to do to drop into the 4:06-range? Is it just a matter of getting into the right race?
SR: I ran 4:11 in my first race of the season last year, without the huge base I built this year. I definitely think I was in 4:0x shape last summer, but shut it down in anticipation of my last cross country season at ‘Nova. I am looking forward to getting into a competitive race to hit that kind of time, and I hope I can get the A standard!
CK: Regarding your huge base, what sort of mileage did you get up to and how long did you sustain that mileage?
SR: Sixty miles at the max. I probably hit that for a month or so, which is a lot for me. I’m not a very mileage-oriented runner, so when I say I built a huge base, it was more so long, strength-oriented workouts.
CK: So are you pursuing both distances this spring?
SR: Yes. I hope to run more 800m races too.
CK: Are you racing the 800s as under-distance efforts to work on intensity or are you hoping to get standard at that distance too?
SR: I think that to be a great 1500m runner, you should be able to step up to the 5000m and down to the 800m. I don’t think that sub-2 is going to happen right now, but I think that I have some good 800m times left to run.
Canadian Olympic Standards for the 800m distance:
A+ – 1:59.90
A – 1:59.90
B – 2:01.30
April 1st to June 30th 2012 – achieve the A and a B standard in this period. See all the qualifying details here.
CK: Obviously your immediate goals are to achieve A and B or A+ within the window then compete in the Olympics. Are you going to race in Europe and the National Track League to try to achieve standard? Which meets do you have in mind?
SR: I just want to enjoy my final collegiate races at Penn Relays, Big East, and NCAAs. I have loose plans to go to Europe this summer, and I will have to pursue a 1500m standard in North America before I do anything, but I’m not sure where that will happen yet.