Lucknow runner gearing up for the world stage

Julie-Anne Staehli appearance on MWO Sports on May 14, 2021.

Training in 35 degree Celsius heat is no easy task but that is what Lucknow’s Julie-Anne Staehli is doing in Flagstaff, Arizona, to prepare for the Olymipcs.

The conditions in Arizona are what team officials expect the conditions in Tokyo to be like when competitions begin.

And for Staehli, the work is as much as mental as it is physical.

The 27-year old is gearing up for her first Olympic competition after being named to the team on July 2nd and will compete in the 5000 m.

She has run that length multiple times earlier this year, beating the Olympic standard of 15:10 three times.

“So after I achieved that, I had a pretty good idea that I had put myself in a position to qualify for the games,” said Staehli from her room in Flagstaff.

For Staehli, it’s always been one step at at time in her career.

“I never saw too far ahead. I think in my development throughout the sport, I think I’ve always been focused on the stage that I’m in,” reflected Staehli. “And I think throughout elementary school, high school and university, I was just always very focused on that time and where I was in the sport. Once I went to Queen’s and I made my first national team, that was when I think the seed was planted in terms of that this is now a possibility.”

She has made that possibility into a reality and has joined her track and field teammates for the final push to Tokyo.

“Prioritizing running over the last several years, I think it’s kind of cumulated and timing was right and it was a multi-dimensional chess game to be able to qualify,” said Staehli. “This is the sharpening phase of the cycle and you’re getting ready to peak on July 30th for the semi-finals of the 5000 m.”

And while the physical training continues, so does the mental preparation and that won’t stop even when the race is about to begin.

“I think it’s being able to channel your energy and manage the emotion and just be able to get to the start line and be able to know that it’s just like any other race. It’s 12 and a half laps on the track, you’ve done this so many times before, it just happens to be probably the biggest race that you’re going to run.”

It’s expected that 45 women will compete in the 5000 m event on July 30th with the field split into two semi-final heats.

The top five finishers in each semi-final will advance along with the next five best times overall for a total of 15 runners in the final race.