Following my previous article (which if you haven’t already read, you should totally go and read right after this!), I wanted to follow on the theme of motivation.
I thought it would be a great idea to talk a person who motivates me to do better on a daily basis. That person is… my brother *cringe*, Joe Reid.
Joe and I have grown up running together, and recently Joe has taken his athletic career to the next level, competing at the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games, held in April this year.
After a recent change of event to the 800m, it has become apparent that Joe has found his athletic calling, crushing the Senior Island records multiple times already this year, which now puts him as the first Manx man to run under 1 minute and 50 seconds in Manx history, with a respectful time of 1:48.32s.
I decided to chat to Joe about his time in Australia at the Commonwealth Games, his training, and how he stays motivated.
How did you find your preparation for Australia?
Joe – It was good! I did a whole indoor season, which was my first time competing over the 800m in a British Championship, so I was really happy to make the final there.
I also did a BMC [British Milers Club] and took the win there. I had the opportunity to compete in Vienna, which was a really cool place to go!
Finally, I finished my indoor season by running a 600m, in which I ran a personal best, so I was just really looking forward to Australia to come around.
I guess those good indoor performances gave you confidence in what was to come?
Joe – Yeah, I was pretty confident going into it, especially because before I actually ran at the Commonwealth Games, I got to run at the “Queensland Classic” and ran a personal best time.
That was the first time I had ran under 1:50 for the 800m, so I was really confident and looking forward to the Games.
So off the back of that performance, how did you feel when you were in the Commonwealth Stadium in front of the crowd? What was going through your mind?
Joe – To be honest, I can’t really remember what was going through my mind, I just remember once I got off the track I said that I was going to do whatever it took to get more experiences like that because it was just the best 10 minutes of my life leading up to that race and running it! I can’t find the words to do it justice, to describe the feeling I had in those 10 minutes.
And what was it like running with your heroes, the big names you’ve been looking up to over the years?
Joe – It was great! It gives me confidence and belief that I belong on that stage, and I deserve to be running with those guys. It so cool for me to compare myself to them and see that everything I’ve been working hard for isn’t so far away anymore, and if I carry on working hard I could be racing those guys week in, week out.
Apart from the racing, which was evidently such a big part of your trip, what was your favourite memory from Australia?
Joe – I enjoyed the whole atmosphere around the Games. For me, I’m quite a big sports fan, so it was just really interesting to be in amongst all these sports heroes, warming up next to big names on the track, or sitting next to say a volleyball player at dinner, or seeing some of the triathletes doing their morning training sessions, so for me I’d say my favourite memory was just being there, soaking up the atmosphere.
So, you talk about the different athletes and different sports, how did you find the athlete village, living amongst different people and different cultures?
Joe – It was really cool, you get to see how different people spend their down time, obviously you’d have the British people, we would just be in the games room quite a lot, playing on the Playstation or the XBOX, and then other cultures would just walk around the village or they’d dance or sing.
It was just interesting to see some of the African countries, they were really vibrant with the time they spent away from their sport and how they kept occupied, so I enjoyed being in the village as it taught me a lot.
You mention different cultures and new things. Did you get the opportunity to try any strange foods?
Joe – I had kangaroo! I didn’t really like it though, it was tough and chewy, but I did say I wanted to try it while I was out there, so I was glad that I did.
If you could have brought back one part of the “Games” back with you to the island, what would it have been, and why?
Joe – How friendly and encouraging everyone was out in Australia. It was really nice to almost feel like you were inspiring people out there, and everyone was just wanting you to do the best you could. They would mention their kids, or nieces, or nephews that were watching, and all the athletes were such a big inspiration to them.
Everyone made it feel really inclusive, and that would be a great environment to have on the Isle of Man, everyone encouraging and pushing each other to be the best they can be, and compete on the international stage. That would be something we could do better.
So, with everything you have achieved this season, we can see you have a lot of skill and dedication to do what you have done, but what do you feel your main strengths are that have got you to where you are today?
Joe – I feel like am certainly a very driven person. I have my mind set on things I want to do, or how big I could be, so I do everything I can to prove myself right in that.
Mentally, I am probably a lot stronger than a lot of people. If I’m on a start line with eight people, I’d like to think I’m mentally stronger than everyone else, and that I know what I can do and what I am going to do. Hard work, especially on the track comes naturally to me. I’ve never shied away from leaving everything on the track, or being scared to make a fool of myself by running too hard, but yeah, I’m never afraid to put in all my effort.
You talk about being dedicated and not being afraid to put in the work, so how do you keep yourself motivated to do this?
Joe – I find it easy to stay motivated because running a personal best for an athlete is the best thing you could do – doing better than you’ve ever done before. Then obviously, experiences like the Gold Coast or a British Championship final make you realise what you could have if you carry on working hard, so I find it easy to stay motivated because it shows me everything that I want to do.
Is there anyone in particular that you find motivates you?
Joe – I’ve never really had one particular role model while growing up, or one person who I’d want to emulate. I have lots of people around me that make me want to do better.
All my family and friends who have supported and encouraged me, whether I have a good or a bad race, they are always the first people to get in touch and speak to me after a race. Then obviously, my coach and training partners have put a lot of time and effort into me, and it makes me want to repay that faith.
They have that much faith in me and I want to prove them right. Really, it’s anyone that believes in me, because they make me believe in myself, and my motivation all starts there.
Why is motivation so vital?
Joe – It’s different for every person. There are always going to be times where things aren’t going your way and you’ll need to reflect on what that end goal is, and motivate yourself to stay on track for that. Motivation is integral for human-beings really.
Do you have an example of a time where you have struggled to find motivation?
Joe – There have been times. I tore my hamstring in 2015 and managed to recover from that, but then I kept tweaking. After that had happened the second time, I was quite down in the dumps and struggled for motivation, because in that moment in time, you can’t see past the nightmare you’re in. However, once you sit back and reflect on it, you see things differently and you see that actually, things are going to be okay.
What advice would you offer to others, whether they be athletes or just regular people, on finding motivation?
Joe – Find something that you want to do and just get lost in doing it. Simply enjoy it, and hype it up into the biggest dream you can make it. Tell yourself that’s going to happen.
With everything you’ve achieved so far this year, you have attracted some public attention. How do you ensure you are acting as a role model for those around you?
Joe – You almost feel a bit of responsibility. I’m at the track a lot and you see the young kids down there, who want to say hello and encourage me on reps, so I feel as if I have a bit of a duty to act like a role model to them.
I think if I was a little kid and I saw a twenty-two year old guy down the track, what would I expect him to being doing. I want to make sure everything I do is setting an example for these people who look up to me.
And finally, what’s the rest of your season looking like? What do you have planned?
Joe – I’d like to try and run a couple of fast times at a few of the BMC’s. I don’t want to put a time on it, but if I could get some quick runs out of those races I’d be really happy. Then I’ve got three championships this year which I’ve got different aims for. The first is the British Under 23’s, where I hope to at least get a medal there. Then I’ve got the British Championships two weeks after that, and I would be great to make my first outdoor senior final. And then I’ve got the English Championships, I’d love to go and win there!
Joe spoke with such heart, that it’s hard not to take his advice on board. He speaks with a similar voice to me, don’t shy away from opportunities, even if they scare you. Look at what Joe did. He got himself on the starting line with some of the biggest names in his sport, and now he is on a mission for more.
So, how’re you going to do it? What’s your first step to get to that position of your dreams?
Since this interview was recorded, Joe went on to win the U23 British Championships – ending his final U23 Champs in style. Congrats Joe!