Jon Brown - On Course to
Challenge the Africans
MONACO - Monte
Carlo - Among the outstanding runners of the
1996-1997 cross country season are two Europeans
- Portugals Paulo Guerra and Britains
Jon Brown, currently first and third respectively
in the IAAF Cross Challenge standings. Guerra is
the more established name, and won European Cross
Country titles in 1994 and 1995 as well as being
the most consistent European at the World Cross
Country Championships during the 1990s.
But the Welsh born
athlete, now based in Canada, made his big
breakthrough this winter, first by beating Guerra
by 35 seconds to win the 1996 European Cross
Country Championships on December 15 and then by
defeating World Cross Country Champion Paul
Tergat in the Cross Challenge in Durham on
December 28. Brown also finished second in
Seville on January 19 and second in San Vittore
on March 9. The following interview is intended
to provide some background information on a man
who will aim to prevent African domination in
Turin on March 23.
How did you get
involved in athletics?
I started to get really interested at school
when I was about 11 years old. I did the sport as
part of the school curriculum but did no other
training. Every couple of weeks we would go for
big cross country races in the city but it
wasnt until later that I began training
someone in particular who inspired you?
There was not really one person in
particular. I think that when you are young you
do athletics and enjoy it more for social reasons
than because you want to do really well. You run
because you enjoy it and it is fun.
Do you have a
I dont have a mentor, and I dont
need one. I am very self-motivated, I push
What pushes you
I just enjoy what I do. I dont need extra
motivation. I enjoy competition; not necessarily
winning but racing other people. I enjoy racing
against the Ethiopians and the Kenyans who are
very motivated and hungry to do well. But the
main thing is the enjoyment I get from racing.
What are your
plans for the rest of 1997?
I came back to Europe for an IAAF Cross
Challenge race in Seville in March (Brown is
based in Vancouver, Canada) and will participate
in the World Cross Country Championships in Turin
on March 23. After that I will probably be on the
track at the IAAF World Championships in Athens
racing at 10,000m.
achievement of your athletics career?
The greatest achievement of my athletics
career would be to win Olympic gold. I dont
think you can get much higher than that.
During the winter I get up at about 7:30 a.m.
every morning. I do two workouts per day, seven
days a week. I train from 8:30 until 11:00,
running for at least an hour but it can be longer
than that depending on how I feel. I then have a
break, because I need time to recover, before
starting the afternoon session at about 3 p.m. In
the afternoon I probably spend around the same
time training and stop at about 5:30 p.m. before
it gets dark. I dont train with anybody
else although I have done in the past and would
like to still. But we only moved to Vancouver
recently so I am still finding my way about.
During the summer, my training will not be that
different to the winter. I still train twice a
day, except that I will probably do the second
session later because the weather is hotter.
Why did you
choose to live in Canada?
We came to Canada because we were looking for
a nice place to live. It is very beautiful here.
It is not too cold although it is very wet. Even
more so than England.
Do you enjoy
I do enjoy training most of the time,
although when you get injured it is not fun at
all. You need very strong self-discipline to
stick to your routine, and it can be very
physically demanding on the body. I am usually
absolutely exhausted afterwards. Im very
often half asleep by the time I eat dinner, which
is long before going to bed.
What are the
advantages of an athletics career?
You get to meet all kinds of people from all
kinds of places that you would never normally
meet. You also get to travel, although now I have
grown to like that less - its almost
non-stop during the season. This can be a
downside of the sport because even though you do
travel you are never in one place for long enough
to really appreciate it. Although it is good to
see friends that you have made on the circuit.
prospect of winning prize money encourage you and
make you more ambitious?
I dont really think prize money affects
my way of thinking and my approach to training
and competing. But of course it does help and who
knows what will happen at the World Cross
Championships. I might be in there with a chance
How long have
you been a full-time athlete?
I have been a full time athlete since 1993.
Before that I was at the University of Iowa where
I competed on the athletics team.
What would you
be doing if you were not an athlete?
I have no idea. I might possibly be in
another sport. As a kid I did a lot of other
sports but my main one was always athletics. If I
was not involved in athletics or sport I would
try and do something exciting, although I
dont know what.
What is your
I prefer thriller films and like loud and
fast music - rock music.