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A series of interviews "Meet the Runners" by Debra Agong
It is said that talent, training, mental toughness and passion are among the ingredients needed to make a successful athlete. To those looking on at Ruth Metivier and her sudden rise to a position near the top of local road running, that combination is evident. However, she’s the first to downplay it. In response to offering congratulations to her on a race well run, you’re likely to hear her say “No, I was not good, I’m still too slow”. While her humility is admirable, we all know that there is a quiet confidence and almost obsessive passion for the sport that has driven her to the successes that she has had thus far.
Born in Trinidad 37 years ago, Ruth has spent more than half her life living outside of this country in England, France and Switzerland. In 2001, she returned to Trinidad for one year to enter a study programme and to become reacquainted with her birth country. However, instead of enrolling in that programme she got a job. That was eight years ago and although she has returned to England numerous times, it has been strictly for vacation. When asked what keeps her here, she has one quick answer; “I hate the cold weather”. That love of the warm climate lead to her enjoyment of the outdoors, particularly the Queen’s Park Savannah in Port of Spain.
Before 2005, Ruth’s exercise routine consisted of one or two laps around the savannah, that’s until a TTRRC member invited her to join the group for the Thursday afternoon run. She enthusiastically agreed, but didn’t show up that Thursday or on any other Thursday in the months that followed.
It took some urging but she eventually turned up and was fully prepared to struggle at the back of the pack, willing to accept last place as part of her road to improvement. Months later, improvement is exactly what she achieved. This group of runners, that she once referred to as intimidating, were now solidly in her corner and part of her new running family, providing encouragement and advice whenever it was needed.
In 2006, she completed her first marathon, the Trinidad marathon, in 3 hours, 31 minutes, taking the title of first local female finisher. That same year, she was the female winner of the Granny Luces 15k and was the second female to finish in a hard fought Butler 20K classic in 1 hour, 31 minutes. 2007 was an even better year when she reduced her Butler time to 1 hour, 27 minutes, won a second title as top local female finisher of the marathon in a personal best time, and perhaps the most prestigious achievement of all; reduced the number of TTRRC men left to beat in the marathon to one. The last man standing knows who he is and I know he’s quaking in his Mizunos already.
See what else Ruth has to say ...
Q. When did you start running?
A: In 2005
Q:Who or what prompted you to start?
A: A very prominent member of the TTRR club, Alfred Patrick. I used to just run around the savannah, like a gerbil. I met Alfred and in his friendly manner, said, come and run with the club and well the rest is history.
Q:How have you benefited from running
A: Apart from the whole health & fitness aspect, running has enabled me to find my passion which is to run! It is a part of who I am.
Q:What is your favourite race distance?
Q:What is your best marathon time?
Q:What is your favourite training workout?
A: Tempo run
Q:What is your favourite local race to run and why?
A: Let me answer that question another way. What is your least favourite local race & why. Any 5k! Why? If you have bad start that’s it. I enjoy Half Marathon/Marathon, even if you don’t have a good start you can still make up ground and finish with a good time.
Q:What is your most memorable race experience
A: Boston Marathon. The whole experience of running one of the Great 5 marathons, the magnitude of people. Perhaps what made it so memorable was that it was bitterly cold and the race directors decided at 2am that the race should go ahead. I remember John (Lum-Young) saying, "Ruth we’re changing tactics … it’s a matter of completing the course!"
Q:What do you like least about running/training
A: Speed work!
Q:What are your future goals in the sport
A: To do sub 3 hour marathon
Q:Has becoming a member of TTRRC benefited you? How?
A: Yes. There is a wealth of knowledge available. Running isn’t a matter of putting on a pair of sneakers and just going, it’s a science.
Q:What do you enjoy most about being a member of the club?
A: The ol’ talk, the advice, running tips, encouragement….
Q:In your opinion, are there any side effects to running?
A: Loss of toe nails calluses, but thanks heavens for Allana (the pedicurist). She puts my happy feet back together again!
Q:Do you believe group running is better than running alone or vice versa? Why?
A: It has its plus & negatives. Yes, as you learn from the more experienced runners about pacing, when to speed up/slow down and it’s always good to have someone faster than you to try and run them down! However, sometimes, it’s good to run alone… just you, your watch and your log book.
Q:How long did it take for you to see improvement in your training or racing performances?
A: At least a few months and I’m still on that learning curve.
Q:What, in your opinion, was the recipe for that improvement?
A: Following a structured training programme and although I hate it, speed work. You will reap the rewards, trust me!
Q:How would you advise someone who wants to start running?
A: You have to love to run. Let those happy feet take you to places you never thought you would go. Start slowly, don’t get discouraged and look back from where you have come to where you are now.
Q:What do you feel is the most common mistake made by runners in training and/or in racing?
A: Not listening to their body. It’s a good thing to take a rest!
Q:Would you advise other women to take up the sport? In your opinion, are there any special benefits for women who run?
A. Yes! You look damn good!
CLICO Marathon 2007
closely followed by
Ricaldo Gomes, TTRRC
2005 taking a jog around
the Queen’s Park
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