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"i'm just motivated by winning"

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Martyn Rooney
29 December 2014

“I wish I’d have celebrated a bit more!”

That’s what Martyn Rooney (coach: Rana Reider) had to say when we asked him to sum up 2014.

“I enjoyed 2014 and it was great to win something, but it was a weird feeling to win, as I felt like I had to go onto the next thing. I did my lap of honour and saw my Dad and Kate and then that was it! After that I wasn’t that bothered and it was all about the next job, which was the relay the next day.

“In the back of my mind, I was thinking this is the start of the next phase in your career. I have to go into the world’s next year and do well. It’s not just about being one of the team and making finals anymore. I’ve got the taste for winning now, so I’ve got to try and do it again.

“I put a lot of pressure on myself to win – I focussed on it ahead of the Commonwealths, as for me that was the bigger champs. That’s what I’d aimed for all year but I suppose when you train with an Olympic champion [Christian Taylor] it kind of changes everything. European’s was great, but it’s only part of the process.”

So if that’s only part of the process, what does the Croydon man have in mind?

“I’ve been trying to motivate myself to go into the Worlds and Olympics and get a medal, but I just can’t do it – I have to go in and try and win it! Every time I go to training now it’s ‘I’ve got to go and try and win the world champs!’ I know it’s going to be tough, but I’m not motivated for a bronze medal. I can’t turn up to training unless I’m motivated to do it. So if that’s what it takes, aiming for gold, then that’s what it takes.

“I’ve realised I’m not motivated by getting bronze or silver. I’m not motivated by fast times. I’m just motivated by winning stuff. Cash doesn’t really appeal either!”

As we spoke to Rooney he was getting one of his regular massage sessions from the British Athletics Medical Team, who he credits for playing a large part in his success.

“We are very fortunate with the system we have here in Britain, and we have levels of support that most countries could only dream of. This is how I stay consistent – we just try and focus on getting the right type of treatment and not doing anything silly. I just listen to these guys and when I’m too tired or tight, they can tell me to stop. I can just look after my body a bit better now and I’m very fortunate to have these guys around me day in, day out.”

Another vital piece of the jigsaw for Rooney is warm weather training camps, something that he’ll be embarking on at the turn of the year when a large group of athletes, coaches and support staff head to Stellenbosch, South Africa, for the annual January training camp. This routine is something that the bearded giant relies on year after year.

“It’s more of the same. I just need to carry on from where I am and be consistent. I won’t be changing anything from last year, other than having more opportunities to train with other athletes. Last year I did a lot of the stuff on my own, so I think this will make a big difference. I’m going to South Africa and I’ll be training with the Borlee’s and Chris Zah’s group, so I think it’s going to help a lot. I love Stellenbosch – it’s always a great camp and it’s somewhere I feel at home.”

But before then, was Rooney able to let his hair down over Christmas or was it training as usual?

“It was pretty relaxed! We had a very heavy load leading into Christmas, so I have ten days now where I have five sessions to do, and I can choose as and when to do them – it’s basically all about getting ready for South Africa.

“Christmas day was spent with the Dennison’s this year, the first time away from my family, but when you’re married, you have to do these things! I try to enjoy Christmas time with my friends and family, as this is the last real blow out I suppose! So if that means going to the pub, it means going to the pub!”

Whether they toasted to his 2014 success or not, Rooney has his eyes very much on the prize as we look ahead to another big year in the athletics calendar.