Aaron Brown at the IAAF World Relays in Nassau (© Getty Images)
Canadian 200m specialist Aaron Brown is among the most consistent performers on the IAAF Diamond League circuit with a string of top-three finishes. The 26-year-old Commonwealth 200m silver medallist articulates his thoughts on why he loves running quickly.
“I always knew I was fast from a young age. Playing soccer, my coaches’ strategy was for my teammates to kick the ball behind the defence for me to chase it down because nobody could keep up with me. In grade three or four, I recall beating a whole line of students in a sprint race and in the next race, even when teachers gave the other kids a head start, I still managed to win.
“I’ve always had a passion for running fast and a fascination with speed. It was always fun to run, although at first, of course, I didn’t understand the intricacies of track. Over time I started to love sprinting even more when I had the extra motivation of improving my personal best and comparing myself with how others were doing. My passion grew further when I later discovered sprinting could enable me the opportunity of getting a scholarship in the NCAA and allow me, one day, to travel the world.
“One of my first sprinting heroes was Donovan Bailey (the 1995 world and 1996 Olympic 100m champion). Like me, he is a fellow Canadian and as a youngster I recall working out math problems in our math textbooks that were based calculating the speed he could run the 100m. After I got into track a little more, one of the first collegiate sprinters I took notice of was Walter Dix (the 2008 Olympic 100m and 200m bronze medallist). I admired his college career, and I felt he was the best NCAA sprinter I’d seen, which originally made me want to run at Florida State.
“I am a real student of the sport, sometimes too much so! I enjoy looking at the history of the sport and seeing what others have done in the past – as it helps give me a greater understanding and appreciation of the sport.
“I love that feeling of sprinting fast. It is an odd phenomenon because when you are in that zone, it almost feels like time slows down. The rhythm comes naturally and it feels like you are not even working hard. You often run your fastest when you are relaxed rather than when you are pounding hard and gritting your teeth.
“I’m at my happiest sprinting when I do not feel any fatigue or tightness, and I feel completely in sync with my body, controlling it to manoeuvre as I command it to.
“Sprinting and track has also given me so many other positives. I love the fact I perform in a truly global sport and I get to experience lots of different countries in the world with different weather, people and food, and so many cities with amazing architecture and historical sites. I feel privileged to be able to showcase my talent, compete against the very best, and also get the chance to get paid to travel the world.
“Track is not like other sports like NBA (basketball) in which all the best players come to one region in America; rather we as track and field athletes compete all over the world and present the event to the globally.
“I sprint because it is my calling. I played multiple sports when I was younger but ultimately felt my best opportunity to be world-class was in the sport of track because the common denominator in every sport I played was speed. I truly believe this is what I was meant to be doing.”
Steve Landells for the IAAF