Athlete Feature: MV’s Walker John


When did you start competing in track and field?

I joined outdoor track as a freshman in 2013 thinking I would be a sprinter, but once I started training with the distance runners I fell in love with it.

What is your favorite track and field event?

The mile/1500. I love the combination of endurance, speed, and strength that are required to excel at this distance. Plus, smart tactics are essential which makes it a fun event to run. I haven’t gotten a chance to fully reach my potential in this event because of my injuries, but I’m hoping to do so throughout my college career.

If you could do any event in track and field, which one would it be and why?

The steeplechase seems like it would be an awesome event to run. It’s basically a mixture of cross country and track, making it a lot more exciting than a typical track race.

IMG_9687Describe your favorite workout:

During cross country season we did a workout that combines mile repeats with hill repeats. You start with a mile repeat that ends at the top of a steep, 100 meter hill, and then you jog to the bottom of the hill and do two hill repeats. When you get to the top after your second hill repeat, you go straight into your next mile repeat. The whole workout is continuous, so you don’t stop until the end of your third mile repeat. I had a pacer for my miles which allowed me to go faster, making it a lot harder. The toughness of it is a huge confidence booster.

Describe your favorite race/competition memory:

Running 2:38 and breaking the school record in the 1000 this past winter. In the offseason before indoor track, I had the best chunk of base training in my life which gave me an immense amount of confidence. This race was towards the end of the season, and I knew I was capable of breaking the record if I actually went for it. I got out hard at the start and then tucked into about fourth for the first lap or so. I didn’t like how bunched up we were so I took the lead and pushed the pace hard for the last few laps. I kept the lead all the way until the last meter of the race when Patrick O’Brien of Oyster River snagged it from me in a photo finish. Hearing my coaches say “2:38” was one of the best moments of my life.

How does your coach motivate you?

The belief that my coaches have in me has been a huge source of motivation. They’ve always seen the potential in me, even in the lowest points of my career when I couldn’t see it myself.

If you could go anywhere in the world where would you go?

Oregon. I’m obsessed with professional running, and I could spend the rest of my life in TrackTown USA.

What is your go-to pre-meet meal?

Something that sits in my stomach well, like oatmeal. Then, leading up to my race, I eat a lot of smaller snacks.

Do you have a favorite pre-race song?

I like to be as relaxed and calm as possible before a race, so I usually listen to some kind of indie-alternative music. I don’t have a favorite song, but anything by Bon Iver would work.

What motivates you most to do well?

I’m a very goal-oriented person, and since my freshman year I had a big, long-term goal set for myself. This goal alone was my main source of motivation, and I used to visualize it practically every time I ran. Besides that, my drive comes from an obsessive need to feel like I’m doing everything I possibly can to get better. If I look back at a week of training and feel like I could’ve done more, I get really anxious.

What would you do if you knew you could not fail?

Realistically, I would do something like fix the economy, end terrorism, or save the environment. In terms of personal endeavor, however, I would probably just run in the Olympics to win a bunch of gold medals.

What is the best advice or quote ever given to you?

This is a very difficult question as I have a lot of inspiring people in my life. WalkerDuring my first major injury, which was probably the most difficult mentally, my coach told me, “The point is not to get back to where you were before the injury, the point is to get back…. Shift your thinking, let the hope back in. Otherwise, how can it be an inspirational story?” In my lowest points, I’ve found myself thinking back to this. It has allowed me to be more grateful when I’m healthy, and to enjoy it as much as possible.

If you go to college, do you plan to compete in track and field? And where?

I’ll be running for Franklin Pierce University next year.

What is your favorite thing about Track and Field?

The fact that your success is dependant on how hard and smart you work. In a race, you can’t hide your lack of preparation. If you don’t do the work, it will show.

What is your favorite track facility?

Aside from my home track, my favorite track facility is at Londonderry High School. Sophomore year, I was a part of the MV 4×8 team, and we broke our school record at MOC’s on this track. It’s one of my favorite memories, so that track always reminds me of it.

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