Today we are catching up with professional runner Shaquille Walker. Shaquille is a member of the Brooks Beast Track Club and he really is a beast! One the best 800m runner (in the world), he missed his opportunity to race at the 2016 Rio Olympics because of an incident during his prelim heat, where he was (unfairly – in our opinion) disqualified.
FloTrack has a great article explaining what happened, including a short clip Shaquille’s post-trials interview here.
Shqaquille is heading to NYC this weekend to race at the prestigious NYRR Millrose Games. As the newest pro athlete in our line-up, we wanted thought we’d check in to wish him luck and see how he has put the past disappointment behind him.
Clearly missing the opportunity to race in Rio was deeply disappointing. How were you able to keep this in perspective and move forward with planning the rest of your 2016 season?
It was really difficult for the first day after the trials. If it weren't for my family and my wife being there to encourage me I wouldn't have been able to get over it so quickly. They helped me to take a deep breath, step back, and realize how much I had gained from the track season even with its disappointments. It was a good lesson for me to learn at such an early time of my career.
What races have you done since the trails? How did you do?
I raced a couple days after the Olympic Trials disappointment on a road 800m in Springfield, Oregon. I ran 1:46 on the roads which was a road 800m world record! It still stands today as the fastest 800m ever run on the roads. That was a great consolation for the trials!
How have you mentally prepared yourself for coming back from a disappointment – one that was out of your control?
It has honestly taught me a great lesson. Too often I thought I would base my entire career on just a few moments. But that experience taught me it was more than one or two races that define a career, at least to me. With that in mind I have been able to focus on what I can control and enjoy the process and the privilege it is to run all while seeing how good I really can be.
You’re racing the 1000M at this weekend’s Millrose Games. It is known as the most prestigious indoor track meet in history. Does this event have special meaning to you?
It is a very prestigious meet that I have grown up watching and hearing about. To actually be able to compete now just reminds me where I came from and inspires me to continue to try the best I can!
For non-track runners, running 1000m doesn’t seem so much different than the 800. Can you explain if/how your strategy and pacing might be different?
They seem so close in distance yet for a guy like me, it will probably feel so much longer! I have actually never raced a 1000m so I'm also really excited to see how it will play out! I'm guessing it will be very similar to an 800m pace-wise though.
You’re traveling from coast to coast for this event. Do you have any tips for making sure you arrive fresh and ready to go?
Yes! Hydration and getting my blood flowing while flying is huge for me. I walk around and stretch a lot on the plane to stay loose. In terms of hydration, water is good but something with electrolytes is even better. GLUKOS fills this role perfectly and you better believe I've packed plenty to bring with me!
Thank you and good luck this weekend!