Matti was featured in the Nov-Dec issue of Youth Runner Magazine but we didn't ever post his full interview here.
Here was our interview with Matti in the November-December 2016 Issue.
Matti Johannes Erickson
School Trafalgar Middle School, Nelson B.C.
Club Kootenay Chaos Track Club
We met Matti after he won his race at the Nike Portland XC Meet in September.
YR: Describe the middle school race...the difficulties, your race strategy, did the race go as planned?
A: There were more runners than I’m use to so getting out fast and out of the masses was a priority. I did not know any of the other runners so the plan was to get in the lead group and see what the pace was. I quite often run with older runners so I am use to a faster pace than what we ran at. I tucked into fourth and with 400 or so meters to go started shifting gears. The race went pretty much as planned with a sprint to the finish.
How about the hale bales and the whoop de doos? Like or dislike?
The bales and whoop de doos were a good way to break up the race on a relatively flat course. I do hurdles on the track so am use to jumping over obstacles.
Tell us more about yourself, when did you start running and how did you get into it?
My first running race was in Trail BC when I was ten. I entered all the events and did quite well. The reason I entered the meet was because my grade three teacher, Mr. Manson, could not catch me at lunch during a game of tag. He did track in Calgary quite a few years ago and suggested I try running in competition. I ran four running races that day with the first event being the 60m hurdles. I had never done hurdles but it seemed like a fun event. I was quite nervous and felt better when the other runners looked more nervous than me. I won the race in a track record.
What is the worst racing experience you've had and how did you recover from it?
My dad took me to a track meet in Maple Ridge, which is an eight hour drive from Nelson. When I went to put my running shorts on for the first race I realized I had forgotten them. My dad took off to find a pair and returned just in time. I also ran in the Kaslo Sufferfest last year and got off course for several minutes. Not quite lost but almost. I was able to backtrack and figured out were I went wrong.
Where do you live and what is special about it.
My hometown is Nelson BC. We don’t have any industry here so the air and water are very clean (I drink out of the lake). We are surrounded by mountains and trees so hill running and skiing are part of what most kids do in the area. Nelson is known as a great place to grow up and live and even a better town to visit. Nelson is one of the top ten best little towns in North America for arts and culture.
What are your PR's - Best Times in the events you run?
I run all the distances from 100m to 2000m on the track and whatever distance the cross country is. My 300m PR is 39.17, 200m hurdle is 27.11, 800m is 2:06.54, 1200m is 2:23.61. I don’t try for times in cross country. Rather I run and try to win regardless of time.
(B.C. has different distances in their track meets than the U.S.)
Running can be hard, what inspires or motivates you every day?
I don’t train every day but when I do run I run hard which gives me confidence in races. My dad and coach are always talking about good runners so I figure if I keep trying hard maybe one day they will be talking about me.
Who was your favorite Olympian or event from Rio?
The men’s 400m was incredible. It’s not very often a world record is set from the outside lane. Andre Degrase was good to watch. He is very confident and respectful.
What are your goals for XC and for Track come spring?
I would like to try to break the two minute mark in the 800m. I would also like to make the BC midget track team for the Legion nationals in Manitoba.
Who is your role model?
Best advice your coach has given you?
Run your own race.
Any advice for other Youth Runners?
You have to have fun running or you won’t enjoy it.