Q&A (On The Level) by Kevin Gray
Reid Coolsaet is one third of Canada’s Olympic Marathon team for London via his 2:10:55 in adverse conditions at the Toronto Marathon. Reid possesses quite an impressive range of times, including a sub-four minute mile, a 13:21 5k, and being the only person I have ever heard of to skateboard a mile in under four minutes (3:49). The New Balance sponsored athlete is a native of Ontario Canada and runs for the Speed River Track Club. We caught up with Reid as he returned from a stint of Altitude training in Flagstaff Arizona.
Can you guys talk a bit about how Canada’s Olympic qualifying standard is so much tougher than the USA’s? Would you prefer a trials race like the US, or do you like the fact that you were able to chase the 2:11:30 standard at a marathon of your choice?
Canada sets their standards so that they send athletes who have a good chance of a top sixteen finish. It’s too bad they don’t let everyone go who hits the IAAF standards but the Canadian Olympic Committee distributes money to Athletics Canada based on results. I don’t think a stand-alone trials would work in Canada because we don’t have many guys under 2:20 or women under 2:40. It would be nice if they chose a big-city marathon to use as the trials, but then it’s nice to plan your own schedule as well.
American runners seem to get all the publicity while Canadian runners are mainly off the radar (is this true in Canada?) We feel that you guys have a very solid team and are very much on par with Meb, Abdi and Ryan Hall (U.S. team).
We don’t always get much press in the States but things have really picked up in Canada now that we have three guys going to London. I’m actually pretty happy with the exposure I’ve been getting in the last year.
Training in Canadian winters must be tough! We thought last year was tough in New England, but you guys probably endure much tougher conditions. Do you have access to an indoor track in Guelph? How much training do you do with fellow NB sponsored athlete Eric Gillis?
I only did one indoor track workout last winter, although I did go to Kenya for 6 weeks. We have a brand new indoor track in Guelph and a new outdoor track is on the way. When we’re training for the marathon Eric (Gillis) and I do all of our workouts together, as well as some of the long runs.
We have been reading your blog www.reidcoolsaet.com and following your different training destinations. Can you speak a bit about your experiences in Flagstaff and Kenya?
This winter was my second trip to Kenya and I had a great time, again. The training there is amazing and you get inspired everyday by the amount of runners giving ‘er. After Kenya I was home for 6 weeks and then went to Flagstaff with ten other athletes from Speed River. Flagstaff is also a great training venue, love it there.
How many kilometers (or miles) do you hit per week?
I’ve hit 240km (148 miles) in a week and I average 200km/week (124 miles) when I train for the marathon. I hope to inch up the volume a little this marathon training block.
Do you believe in doubles, or stick to one run per day?
I usually run 12 times a week.
I imagine both you and Gillis are training full time? Do either of you do anything on the side?
I’m running full-time. I figure if I’m going to spend all this time and energy doing this then I’m going to do it 100%.
What’s the road racing scene like in Canada? Do you have a serious of National Championships across various distances with good money opportunities?
We have a good series, called the Canada Running Series, as well as some big races like Sun Run & Ottawa Race Weekend. We don’t have all the championship distances like the States. We do have 10km, 1/2 and Marathon. The big races offer Canadian-only prize money as well as overall prize money.
Canada suddenly seems to have an explosion of distance runners. Any thoughts to what led to this?
Things look like they’re on the upswing right now. I’m not sure exactly why but good coaching and a few good athletes leading the way in recent years must be big factors.
Jerome Drayton’s marathon record (2:10:08) seems to be in serious jeopardy with the three Canadian marathoners heading to London? Have you put this out of your head until after London? Any plans to chase it post-London or just one marathon at a time?
I’d love to break the record in London but I’m not going to be too concerned with time at the Olympics, especially if the weather conditions aren’t great. I do want to chase good times in 2013.
What is your favorite New Balance shoe to race in and your favored training shoe?
My favorite racing flat is the 1400 and my favorite trainer is the 890. Also, I’m guessing you’ve seen my custom shoe on my website:
The shoes I race in are the New Balance 1400 that were made for the upcoming Olympic Marathon (thanks JF Fullum at NB!). Unfortunately this colour of the 1400 is not for sale.
However, on June 1st New Balance is releasing a Canadian version of the 890 v2 which will be available in most running stores across Canada. A portion of the sale of this shoe will help support physical therapy for Speed River Track and Field Club athletes. Also, towards the end of May there will be a contest on Runningmagazine.ca where you can win a free pair of the Canada 890.