Carlie Pipe – A Bajan Running Champ
Kurama Magazine writer Carlie Pipe has once again proven how multi-talented and determined she is. Carlie recently participated in the IAAF World Half Marathon Championships in Denmark last Saturday. She completed it at a new personal best – 1:32:58, about 5 minutes faster than her last half marathon in December. Carlie took a moment to talk about what it was like representing Barbados in such a global setting.
Carlie Pipe in Denmark
KM: How did the half marathon go?
CP: The race was cool and it was a good run. I just had to focus on myself, make sure I paced myself correctly and I did. The atmosphere was fantastic, with thousands of people cheering us on. I managed to beat about 6 girls. Truthfully, everyone I was capable of beating I did – so I'm very happy with myself!
All along the sidelines people were calling "Barbados, Barbados!" Made me smile!
Kurama Magazine: How did you feel about participating in a world-class half marathon?
Carlie Pipe: I am completely stoked and it is like no other event I have ever participated in – it is truly the biggest race of my career so far! This is the first time Barbados has been able to participate in the World Half Marathon Championships – so to be able to come here as a Barbadian and join the ranks of these international runners is truly a great privilege.
Kurama Magazine: How were you able to qualify?
Carlie Pipe: I've been improving my times significantly over the last two years, and really stepping up my game, working hard with my running club Ufukuzo. So with the improvements and all the sweat and tears I've put in – I knew I just had to come.
KM: Qualifying for the IAAF World Championships is a big deal, but do you plan on taking your distance running career to the next level?
CP: I've been speaking with a top local coach and current national record holder Leo Garnes, and he is going to be coaching me. I also will be working with Samuel Robinson and Samie Tousenard of Forever Fitness, exercise physiologists in Canada.
With the addition of professional coaching, athletic care and nutrition, my performance will definitely be boosted.
KM: What's your training process like?
CP: Leading up to this Half Marathon, 6 days a week! About 30, 35 miles a week in total. I would do 2 hard paced interval sessions, short bursts of speed repeated multiple times. I would also do a long, slower paced run on weekends and then some "recovery" runs, slow or steady paced just to keep the body moving. All of these I do with friends and fellow Ufukuzo runners. I also do crossfit workouts when I can, at Crossfit Islandfit.
KM: What's it like in Denmark? How are the people?
CP: Denmark is simply beautiful. Everyone speaks english, they're excited to hear about Barbados, they know where the country is and they love our lifestyle. The people of Copenhagen are very active, they ride bikes, jog. Copenhagen is sort of an island itself – it is surrounded by a canal. It's quite cold, but it's a nice change!
KM: Were you able to get support in Barbados?
CP: My family, especially my parents, support me 100% no matter what. My mum is simply the best cheerleader there ever was – she is always there whether I am running a tiny race with 40 entrants or a massive one with big prizes. And on the days where I feel like I didn't have a good run for whatever reason, she always makes me feel better.
My sponsors have been wonderful too, because this trip never would have been possible without them. Powerade jumped on board from the get go, saw my potential and they are backing me completely. ICBL and Deloitte are my two other major sponsors, two great companies that believed in me. I have also received assistance from Couples Magazine and Cooper Kaufman Associates....the help has been more than I ever thought. Honestly, I carried the financial burden of the trip with so much worry, asking myself "What am I doing? Why am I doing it?" The sponsorship I received from these companies has answered those questions and relieved me.
But when it comes to local sports organizations... it's a completely different story. All I will say is that I hope this will change in the future and our athletes will be helped, not hindered.
KM: How did you first get interested in distance running?
CP: I was brought up on sports and athletics, and running clicked with me. My dad really instilled a sense of not only being physically active, but also good sportsmanship. I ran for Harrison College when I was there, and I still have my track outfit from school (still fits!). I was a 1500m runner then, but right now my pet event and where I really shine is on the 5000m. For the half marathon, I'll do just over four times that distance.
KM: Any advice for Caribbean athletes who would like to be pro-distance runners?
CP: My advice is that you have to go for it yourself. Don't expect anyone else to lay the framework for you – if you really want to get places, you have to not be afraid to just do it.
Also.... live, eat, breathe and sleep your sport! When you compete, you have to be really hungry to win win win!