Hello David! [Friday Flyer tries to play it cool while chatting to the greatest middle-distance runner ever.] So, what’s your favorite place to run? Well, I’ve been enjoying being in the UK again this summer and I’ve been in the place where I got my world record. It’s really great, and I have always got a great reception here. You have people who love sport and they really cheer ... When I was in Glasgow for the Commonwealth Games, it was really fantastic and awesome.
Do you remember your first ever race as a child? My first race? Wow. You know, when I was young it was quite different. We used to do a lot of sports but we didn’t know exactly what we were doing because we were running up and down, competing with friends, doing football, running 100m … My first competition was in school, but at that time I wasn’t really very good. I was just doing it for fun without any training and some guys were better than me. And sometimes now when I meet them they ask me: “Don’t you remember, we used to beat you when you were young?”
When someone asks you for a training tip, what do you tell them? Well, it’s quite difficult to tell someone exactly what to do because people have different responses, different types of training. But the most important thing is just to work hard, to be committed in what you are doing and to have that focus.
Do you ever run to music? I do, but just when I am doing my warm-up because it really cools your mind. I like lyric music, so I listen to some nice, cool music.
What is the best thing about running? Running is so exciting! You know, I really enjoy it because it’s something I am passionate about it. Since I started competing internationally, as a professional, it’s just been great fun because we get a chance to work around the world, we meet people, we socialise and it’s something we enjoy. Although it’s tough – I know some guys, whenever they are trying to do a bit of training, especially ones who are not professional runners, they always complain a lot! But for us we are used to it, and it’s great fun, and we enjoy running. When I was out for almost a year I really appreciated my running because I really missed it.
So I guess the worst thing for you about running is being injured? Yes, that’s true!
What’s your post-race treat? Sometimes it’s a little bit difficult – before the race you get nerves, excitement, you want to compete and you want to be with your colleagues and sometimes you don’t get to eat well. And then after the race – maybe you won, maybe you were disappointed – it’s hard. Sometimes at my best level, after my competition I don’t eat a lot. The following day, that is when the body goes back to normal.
What do you eat on the morning of a hard session? I see guys who like to eat quite heavy food in the morning, but I usually just like to eat something really light because I don’t feel comfortable or confident eating a lot during a hard session. So maybe one slice of bread and a fried egg. And tea. I want to do my session light.
What’s the furthest you’ve ever run? I think my furthest distance in training is 13km. In competition I think my furthest distance is 1,500m, and that is in the time when I was doing the decathlon.
Do you ever run barefoot? I grew up in Trans Mara [in Kenya] where we really don’t have any facilities, and that was a big challenge. I did my training barefoot at some points, and even some of my competitions. I remember when I made the team to represent my district at the professional level in Iten, I ran the 400m barefoot and I ran 52 seconds, which was very tough. Because we were running on a dirt track, I got some blisters … it was painful after that! And that was when I realised that to be able to run well on a dirt track, you need to have spikes. Back home we didn’t have a proper track so we were just using a nice, soft grass field.
What’s your greatest running achievement? Well …
Yes, there is quite a lot to choose from! I think winning my gold medal in London was my greatest achievement. My father was a silver medallist in the 1968 Olympics and I was always wanted one day to be able to do that and even better his medal.
Who would you rather watch, Mo Farah or Usain Bolt? I do enjoy watching athletics when I’m not racing. You know, watching all these guys running is really great because they are the best athletes in the world. So I usually watch the whole of athletics and I enjoy almost all events.
Who is the greatest ever runner? Wow. I appreciate all athletes. Every time we have different people coming, different times, different seasons … And people in the 1950s, 60s, 70s didn’t really have the facilities that we have right now, and they were also really great athletes. For the moment Usain Bolt, I think, is the greatest athlete of all time.
Funnily enough, last week Greg Rutherford named you. Well, everybody can have his opinion, but when it comes to sprinting Bolt has won so many medals and so many championships – he is the fastest man in the world. So I think it’s fair enough to say he has achieved a lot!
- David Rudisha competed at the Sainsbury’s Birmingham Grand Prix. British athletics events showcase the best UK and international sports stars and encourage young people to take up sport, britishathletics.org.uk