Heatherton, Antigonish County native Mike Tate, a former NCAA athlete at Southern Utah University who now trains and runs for Speed River Track and Field in Guelph, Ontario, earned a bronze in the 1,500 metre event at the 2019 Canadian Track and Field Championship.
The championship was held July 25 to 28 at the Le complexe sportif Claude-Robillard in Montreal.
Tate’s time of 3:49.69 eclipsed Rhys Kramer of the Vancouver T-Birds 3:50.15 posting. William Paulson from the Laval University and Corey Bellmore of the University of Windsor finished one-two with times of 3:48.75 and 3:49.05, respectively.
Tate, the former Dr. J.H. Gillis Regional High School star runner, said his main focus going into the championship was the 5 k race which took place Thursday, and described his bronze medal performance as a “bit of a surprise.”
“That is what all my training this season has been geared towards; more 5 k, 10 k races,” Tate said, talking to the Casket July 29.
“So I was expecting to run better in the 5 k and then the 1,500 m, which was after the 5 k, it was whatever I had left, whatever I could do.
“In the 5 k, it didn’t go quite as I had planned. I ended up ninth overall, so I was a little disappointed with that.”
Tate said it was then time to refocus and it started with him qualifying “comfortably” for the 1,500 m final, after Saturday heats.
“And a lot of the top seeded guys – a couple of big names – didn’t get through in the other heats, so, in talking to my coach Dave Scott-Thomas, we thought this opened up a door for me to, potentially, get on the podium, if everything went according to plan,” Tate said.
“So the race just played out about as perfectly as it could for me, and I was able to snag the bronze.”
Tate was asked about expectations playing a role in the results for him and dismissed the notion he put any undue pressure on himself.
“I don’t think so, I have never had problems with pressure or anything like that in the past,” he said.
“I just think the way I raced each race. In the 5 k, I got caught up in some early moves which, I think, ended up burning me late in the race. Whereas in the 1,500, I went straight to the back of the pack, stayed out of trouble and then made sure I was in position, near the end of the race, when the moves were made.”
As for what’s next on his competitive schedule, Tate said that will be determined after he talks it over with his coach.
“Right now, we’re going to sit down and have a talk and access how everything has gone so far … how much I think I have left in the tank for this season,” Tate said.
“I may be taking some down time, I may keep going; it’s going to be a discussion with Dave within the next few days for sure.”
And how much will the recent results play into the discussion? Some, Tate said, but it’s really about the bigger picture.
“Definitely take the weekend results into consideration and what I’ve done all season, since the start of outdoors back in May, and just try and make a call on what I think I can do from here on out and how much I have left in the tank to give,” he said. “Or if it would be beneficial to just call it a season and go out on a high note.”