Athletics Canada is happy to announce today that Matt Jurysta of Oshawa, Ont., will race in the men's invitational 3000-metres at the inaugural AC Indoor Open in Montreal, March 14-16.

After running collegiately at Drake University, Matt is now part of the Speed River Track and Field Club and is one of Canada's upcoming metric milers.

AC: The Canadian men's 1500-metres seems to be on the upswing. How does it feel to be vying for a spot to represent in the major international meets? 

MJ: I'm a huge fan of the group of guys we have up and coming in the 1500-metres and I am very grateful to be privileged enough to compete with them. I'd love to see the day where we have at least half a dozen guys with world standards. I hope to play a role in helping the field get there, so that everyone is at their best come nationals and I get to test myself amongst them.

AC: You ran collegiately at Drake University, home of the Drake Relays. Any fond memories?

MJ: I have too many fond memories to choose from. I know that I definitely miss the prairies and trips out to the Loess Hills and Neil Smith Wildlife refuge, those were some of the best experiences from my time in Iowa. My standout Drake Relays memory is from 2011 when I ran a great leg of the 4-mile relay. I had a rather rough college experience up until that point, but I was given the chance to compete. My friends and family from across Des Moines came out to support me. Their voices in the crowd stood out to me and everything from that point on in my life was better because of them. I miss the people, the trails, the city, and everything about Iowa dearly, I find myself daydreaming about it all the time and a part of me will always belong in Iowa.

AC: How does Team Canada's best ever performance at the 2013 World Championships motivate you going into the new year?

MJ: The performances don't really motivate me as much as the people behind them and the way they made it happen. I grew up running with Matt Hughes, who's nothing but a good-hearted guy. I've watched him struggle through injury and adversity. It seems he believes in himself relentlessly and that got him a well-deserved Canadian record in the steeple. Or look at Kate Van Buskirk and her ruthless pursuit of finding the B-standard. She saw within herself and that led to a brilliant solo run in Toronto to get that standard. Her coming out party at Nationals when she showed us all what she saw within herself all along, that she is someone to believe in for Canada. Finally Chris Winter's story is worthy of note. After failing to make London in the steeplechase, he could have quit and no one would have thought less of him. He proved what happens when you never quit and when you support someone with that level of self-belief. Canada Track and Field was rewarded with having him as a great addition in Moscow to our best ever World's team. 

AC: What are your goals and aspirations for 2014?

MJ: My first and foremost goal is to help my training partners who helped me get where I am now. I see great potential in the people who inspire me on a daily basis such as Kyle Boorsma, Andrea Seccafien, John Mason, Chantelle Groenwood, Tyler Bartfi, and Lydia Frost to name a few of many. So whatever it may be that I can do to help them out. Be it drive them to the airport, help them through a workout or keep them company on easy day runs, I aspire to do whatever I can to make that happen for them. On my side of things, I think its time for me to break the four-minute barrier. I feel I have a handful of seconds to chop off my 1500-metres and 800-metres times. I've always dreamed of toeing the line against a dozen guys from across the world in international competition to see what I'm made of. So I plan to pursue those goals relentlessly.

AC: What aspects of your training and technique are you working to improve on this year?

MJ: I guess the flavor of the moment is taking steps to learn how to better handle the work and intensity load of training. I feel this will get me to the next level of ability. Lately I've been speaking with some of the triathletes here with the RTC in Guelph about what they do to handle their workload and how they go about managing their lives in order to perform at that world-class level. It has been an enlightening learning experience. They are awesome and admirable people, so if I could emulate just a fraction of their dedication I will become a better athlete and person for it.

AC: What are you most looking forward to on your trip to Montreal for the AC Indoor Open?

MJ: Je suis hâte de pratiquer mon français! Je ne recois pas beaucoup de occasions de parler français alors j'espère que quelqu'un va humour mon accent et grammaire. Je suis également hâte de découvrir la ville, j'entends c'est un endroit magnifique à explorer alors je me sens que tout le week-end sera une aventure.

The 2014 AC Indoor Open will take place in Montreal, Que., March 14 – 16 at the newly renovated Centre Claude-Robillard. The event serves as a Canadian Championship for youth and junior athletes and will feature a number of Olympians and World Championship national team members in invitational events.


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