cariFin male champion interview

This is a summary of what John Donaldson did for CariFin 2011 and how he feels about his performance in this year ‘s CariFin

John Donaldson in the lead on Chancellor Hill


CariFin Games: How many years have you been running in CariFin Games?

John Donaldson: I think the first year that I participated in the games was 2006. Since then, I have not missed a year.

CG: What kind of results did you have over the years?

JD: Until this year, my results were always short of the best I could have done due to injuries, insufficient training or both.

CG: How would you describe the people and the competition in CariFin this year?

JD: As always, there was decent competition. The enthusiasm of some of the newcomers was infectious. For me personally, after the race around the Savannah I felt fairly sure that I would be first, second or third in the remaining Urban Challenge races provided that no one new was introduced. At that time I thought that Nikosi Mc Leish was doing the cross-country race so I was preparing to fight for second place in that event.

CG: With Nikosi Mc Leish dominating for 4 years, what was it like being in his shadow?

JD: It didn’t bother me at all. The CariFin series is not open to the general public. I always understood that there were many elite runners in the country that could beat me and just enjoyed the fact that out of all of them, I only had to contend with him and resigned myself to fighting for second place.

CG: In 2011 you were presented with the opportunity… that is if everything goes right … no injuries etc. To be a major player this year… How you felt coming into the Games this year?

JD: I feel that I was always a major player. I did not feel anything different until I realized that Nikosi Mc Leish was not participating in the Urban Challenge and that I therefore had a chance to fight for first place.

CG: You lost the first event, the One Lap Savannah to Mark Thompson. Did you think the opportunity to win the major title was still possible?

JD: Yes. Besides, that was a close race that could have gone either way

CG: Then it happened – you unleashed in the mile – you won in style – How you felt winning your 1st event in CariFin?

Winning the Green Mile

JD: It felt good but I was not overly surprised. I was a middle distance runner – competing in the quarter-mile, the half-mile, sometimes the mile and sometimes other distances in that category – in high school and college. Barring injury and with proper training, that always should have been my best event as not too many runners that do distance have that kind of speed.

CG: You were able to hold on to the end and win Chancellor Challenge another win. Did you feel this was your year and just maybe you had it in you to win bigger things?

JD: After winning that race it was obvious that I had won the overall running category in the Urban Challenge. I was now looking forward to possibly placing second in the cross country race since I still thought Nikosi Mc Leish was going to be in it.

CG: What is your assessment of the Urban Challenge this year as opposed to last year? Do you think performances overall is improving and the participation level is something we should feel hopeful about?

JD: The participation level and the performance levels remain consistent and satisfactory as far as I am concerned. If participation were to double, the quality of the Urban Challenge events would suffer. On the other hand, I am concerned by the lack of participation in the cross country and other running events on the final sports day.

CG: You seem to be running smarter this year, more patient for one thing and you seem to be receiving the rewards … what is the reason for the change?

JD: There isn’t that much of a conscious change. I simply trained properly and did not get injured.

CG: Sevilla 3 laps. The same patient approach, not the take the lead from the word go. Your main competition on the day was the debutante Akeem Simon .

CG: Explain for us what went on there how you were you able to pull it off.

JD: Again, I attribute a lot of what happened to my training. Until the last half mile or so, my main competition was actually a guy who was not qualified to be in the race. He was in front of me for most of the time and I struggled to keep up with him. Akiel passed him after me at the end and then came after me in an impressive finish.

John Donaldson winning the cross country at Sevilla


CG: Your 1st Urban Challenge and cross country win – how does it feel to be the overall best male runner in CariFin 2011.

JD: It is a nice accomplishment to have behind me.

CG: What advice do you have for the rest of the financial sector as they struggle to probably keep fit or to even star t a fitness program?

JD: There are many things I could say but the first thing that comes to my mind is consistency. I advise people to start at an activity level that they can realistically maintain and gradually build on it. I encourage competitive runners and walkers to compete in other events throughout the year.