Going for it: Daniel Oatley started running seriously after qualifying for the KPMG Front Street Mile. *Photo by Kageaki Smith
Going for it: Daniel Oatley started running seriously after qualifying for the KPMG Front Street Mile. *Photo by Kageaki Smith

WEDNESDAY, FEB. 8: Daniel Oatley has been known more for his cycling ability rather than his running, but he knows if he is going to get a college scholarship it will be on the track.

Even though he has already qualified for this year’s Carifta Games in Bermuda, he knows he’ll have to go faster if he wants to end up on the podium. It’s not just good enough for him to go, he wants to do the best that he can for himself and his country. This thoughtful young man appreciates the support of his parents in his sports and spoke with Don Burgess about his sporting life.

How did you get involved in track?

I qualified for the Front Street Mile when I was 14 and decided I wasn’t going to come in last so I began to do a lot of running and 5ks. From that I began to enjoy running. Eventually Flyers picked me up and I’ve been running ever since.

Do you do any other sports?

I do two forms of cycling. I recently did the mountain bike race at Fort Scaur and that was definitely pleasant. It tends to get very technical while with road racing there is a lot of strategy. People think it’s easy, but it’s not really because you do need to put in a lot of effort and you do get exhausted. You need a lot of energy before you race  otherwise you’re going to die half way through.

How do you feel your two sports mesh together?

Its all leg focused. I find my running helps with my cycling and my cycling helps with my running. With cycling I learn to build endurance so that can be helpful in cross-country.

What does it mean to have Carifta in Bermuda?

I’m really quite excited because I’m going to have my friends there and a lot of support from my family.

Do you feel any extra pressure having it here?

The BTFA (Bermuda Track and Field Association have definitely been making an effort to try and get us to do well. There is some pressure, but I’d still put in this much effort anyway because I am aiming to do well. I do know the standards are very high for Carifta. Right now I’m trying to meet those the best that I can.

But you are already qualified.

Yes, but just barely. I need to improve on that by a lot if I want to do well.

What’s the nest piece of training advice you have received?

It would be to correct the way my arms were swinging while I ran because I had a very strange way of running and since then I’ve improved it. It makes my running more efficient and my running extremely faster because I’m having less energy consumption.

It seems like cycling is your main sport right now, what do you hope to do with it?

It is, but running is what’s going to get me into a college. I do enjoy cycling, but it’s more leisurely. Lately my focus has been more on running. My goal after Carifta is to qualify for the Caribbean Junior Cycling Championships this summer.

Do you have any running heroes?

I have to hand it to my coach (Mike Watson). He’s been to the Olympics and he’s done a lot of running. I definitely look up to him. I also look up to the adults who run with me like my maths teacher (Sandy White). I look up to Mr Burgess. He was telling me about his 10k times when he was 15 so I’ve set a goal to try and break his time. I look up mostly to local runners because they are the ones who made it here.

How do your parents encourage you?

My parents are always there for me. They are always helping me and encouraging me. They ask me about my strategy before a race. They’ve always been a massive help. They pick me up from training and races. It’s really great. My dad is always trying to research races and looking up courses for me. They are almost like my sport managers.  They are very supportive.

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