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“It’s the mind that runs…Not the legs”

It has been years since athletics has become one of the worlds loved activities. Countries have been recognized through their individuals who have dominated the sports news, all over the world. Not only do they have big names and change their lives for good, they are also great inspirations to people to name themselves and countries. Athlete Petro Mamo is one of the biggest names in Mountain race in the world. He has been recognized for being one of the best runners in the field naming his country at different competitions. Q&A is proud to present this bright athlete as its guest today.

  • A little about your upbringing.

My name is Petro Mamo, I was born in 1984 in Negaib a place around Shambqo. I grew up with my family as a shepherd. After completing my national service with the 19th round in Clima, I then joined the division unit 33 in Sawa where I started to participate in running at different occasions for the first time.

  • Your inspirations are derived from….

Besides the natural gift of running, I have always wanted to change my family’s life as we were facing challenges. As I was witnessing people from my area changing their lives through sports, it was a great motivation for me to make me work hard and get to a bigger stage in the field. I thought to myself that if I worked hard towards my goal I would probably achieve my dream.

  • Why did you choose to run in the mountain race?

I never chose to run in the mountain race. It just sort of happens. The first time I took part in the mountain race, I came in 2nd place which made me think that if I work harder on it, I can be better. That first time was an inspiration for me to take mountain race seriously and work towards it. Honestly, I never like it the first time, but I gradually started to enjoy it.

  • Difference among mountain race and other types of events in athletics?

There is no running which is not exhausting but the mountain race is much more tiring. In addition, it requires lots of techniques such as very fast short steps, controlling your body and breathings. The other types have their own dissimilarities but I guess the mountain race is one of the tiring and hard running.

  • You also run in the cross country…

Yes I do. Just like the other types of running, it’s got its own techniques and methods. It is a run where you have to meet with a lot of obstacles, woodlands, trees, mud, street, grasses, hills, flat ground and water all in one run. You need speed and endurance as well as mental preparations. Let me tell you, it is the mind that runs not the legs. If you are constantly worried about what kind of landscape you are going to face, it will never work for you as you are already tired of worrying. You have to be fully prepared mentally and physically in order to have a successful run in cross country.

  • How is it possible for one runner of a specific field to run in different types?

It all depends on how flexible the runner is. Again I mean mentally. Of course the techniques are different and trainings as well, but any runner who is ready to run at any kind can do it. For sure, it is hard for a marathon runner to run a 10km at first, since the technique differs and the body is not trained, but giving good amount of time in training before entering the contests; there is no problems there.

  • Can you brief us about the world champion mountain running?

WMR (world mountain runner) grand pix association, is one of the world wide known associations. It has six different competitions. The competitions start in June and ends in December annually. The contests are held in different European countries. The winner of every week takes 100 points, at the end one of the countries held the World Champion Mountain Running contest.

  • When did you start to be part of those competitions?

The first time was in 2010, it was a competition where the 1st and 2nd place winners were Eritreans, and I came in 4th place. Again, in 2012 where I was the winner, however, in 2013, I participated in the competition due to some difficulties I wasn’t able to finish. Similarly in 2014, I was part of the competition but I had faced a muscle stain problem putting me in 7th place. Also, the same year, I was the winner of grand pix.

  • What is the reason you constantly win the races in foreign countries?

Well, the main reason is that, the climate features that we have in our country is highly favorable. For me, to race competitions not more than 1000 above sea-level after being trained relentlessly at 2400m makes it very easy for me. It helps me with my breathing. Moreover, I train more than two months of regular trainings every morning expect for weekends. So I guess that is why it is easier for me to win almost every week of the contests there.

  • How many races until today?

Since I started running, especially in the mountain race competitions, I have participated in over 56 races in Europe and Asia. These are also the times where I mostly came in the 1st place.

  • Any Records you have broken?

Yes, I have broken eight records in mountain race, most of them are in Europe.

  • Your plans to run in Marathon…

I haven’t participated in marathon that much before. The first time for me in marathon was in May 2016 in Geneva, a contest I came in 4th place, then in 2015 in Shanghai, another 4th place. Now I plan in starting regular marathon trainings from November and be involved in January’s competitions.

  • What should we expect from you?

I plan in working hard to improve my personal time record. This is my number one goal at the moment.

  • Best of luck, your wife is a former athlete as well…

Yes she is. Imbietey Belai, she used to be a good athlete, now a good mother and wife.

  • Any last words?

I would like to thank everyone who has been supporting me from the start, I wish to make them proud. Also thank you for the opportunity you have giving me to talk to Eritrea Profile.

  • Wish you the best in your athletics journey!

Thank you.

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