By Andrew Maloney
Mohammed Ahmed is a Canadian distance runner from Saint Catherine’s, Ontario. He attends the NCAA Division 1 University of Wisconsin. He set a school record by running the 10,000m distance in 27:34.64 at the Payton Jordan Invitational in Palo Alto, California this spring. The time is better than the Olympic A standard of 27:45 and qualified him to represent Canada at the 2012 Olympic Games in London, England.
Andrew Maloney: When you went to Wisconsin where were you hoping to be by now and how has your training there evolved you as a runner?
Mo Ahmed: Going into Wisconsin my goal was to be an Olympian by 2012. On the first issue of Canadian Running back in 2007-08 I said I wanted to make my Olympic debut at the London games and here I am today.
Many people thought that was not realistic and even Athletics Canada was pegging me as a 2016 hopeful, but I told myself a long time ago that I have to make the 2012 team or I need to reconsider my career path. I feel as though my training has not evolved a whole lot. I do similar workouts I did in high school because my high school coach and University coach have similar coaching philosophies which made my transition to collage very easy. The only difference is increase in mileage and more quality workouts. I feel that in high school I was racing my workouts and now I do my workouts controlled and smooth.
AM: What were your goals entering this year and what did you and your coaches do to continue your progress?
MA: My goal this year was to make the Olympic team. Everything was geared towards that end goal; I red-shirted the indoor season to give myself the time needed to do quality work that would enable me to have a good chance at hitting the A standard. I felt heading into the Payton Jordon meet I would either just sneak under the A standard or just miss it, so it was very surprising that I beat it by that much. The training I did last summer, the fall and winter allowed me to get the A standard.
AM: Having never been at an Olympic Games are you excited, nervous or unsure what to expect?
MA: I am very excited to be competing at the pinnacle of all sports. I love competing at the biggest stages and I am going to enjoy it very much.
AM: What are you trying to accomplish in London?
MA: This being my first time in the Olympics, I am going allow myself to enjoy it, and soak in the atmosphere, so I know what to expect at the 2016 games and beyond, but I would love to get a personal best and finish very well. I don’t know what position a personal best will put me, but I am just going to enjoy it and race to the best of my ability on that day.
AM: What are your plans and goals beyond this year?
MA: Every athlete would love to keep making progress and improving every year and I am not any different. I would love to get down to middle-to-low 27 in the 10k and mid-to-low 13 in the 5k at the end of my University Career. Hopefully those times will get me some NCAA titles. I believe those are realistic goals judging myself on where I am today and depending on any unexpected hurdles I will alter them as necessary.