This is Stuart Weir’s first of two pieces for this week. Natoya Goule is Jamaica’s finest female middle distance runner, and Stuart asked her 14 questions….
Fourteen questions for Natoya Goule
1. How did you first get into running?
When I was growing up, my mom told me that she used to send me to buy things at the shop. The only reason they knew I had gone to the shop was that I came back with the goods in my hand because I went and came back so quickly. And when I was at primary school they always had sports days and that’s where I started.
2. In 2010 you won a medal at the world juniors – was that your breakthrough?
Yes I think that was the first time internationally and I got a bronze in the 4 by 400. I could have had a medal earlier but things always happened
3. 2013-17 you were going to World Championships and the Olympics but never making the final. How do you look back on that period now?
Looking back, I see myself coming from afar because every time I was the last one out making it to the next round. Sometimes I felt bad, but I didn’t give up. I always tried to say ‘whenever God is ready’ because he always enabled me to run the times to get to the competitions, so when he’s ready he will enable me to run the way he wants me to.
4. In the world indoors 2018 you couldn’t break 2 minutes but then you were brilliant in the Commonwealths. Were you doing anything different?
Actually yes, I started taking my long runs seriously. I used to train hard on the track but on long runs I didn’t monitor it with my watch I just went out and ran. Then I started monitoring my rounds and pacing myself better. That was one big change that I made. Also my diet. Because I’m small, people would say you’ll be OK but even though I’m small, I’m getting older and I have to eat properly. So I started to eat properly, and that also helped me to perform well last year.
5. What are your memories of winning a medal at the 2018 Commonwealth Games? (Third 1:58.82)
I barely made the final because in the heat three of us were running and the others cut in on me and I virtually had to stop and start running again. I came in secon, but I almost missed making the final. In the final, I decided just to follow Wambui. Every move she made I just followed. Then I started to kick and I almost got silver but I’m very grateful for bronze.
6. NACAC you had another great performance, how was that?
I was able to run 1.57 there – I had run 1.56 before – but I was really happy with that because it shows my consistency, being under 1.58. So I was really pleased with that. I ran basically 59, 59. I was really impressed with that time at the NACAC even though I really wanted to win. But nothing comes before its time and I always tell myself that I have to be patient and follow God no matter what anybody says.
7. Jamaican sprinters are famous but how did you become a world class Jamaican middle distance runner?
I honestly don’t know why Jamaica does not have many world class 800 meter runners. We have lots of juniors growing up who can run the 800 but then the shy away from the event to do other distances. In our DNA we’re supposed to be able to run distance – 800 all the way up. But a lot of persons don’t want to, they prefer to be sprinters or do shorter events. But based on where our DNA came from, we should be able to run distance well in Jamaica. A lot of our distance runners are from the country where it is hilly. I think being from the country helped me as well as having persons who believed in me.
8. The 800m requires strength and speed how you develop each of those?
I think I was born naturally speedy and I also have strength so I think it’s just across the board. I think I was born naturally with this talent. So building on that is what helped me to be able to run fast.
9. Was Monaco 2018 your best ever race? (Third in 1:56.15, a Jamaican record)
I cried after that race. I knew I had run fast perhaps 1.57, but I didn’t know it was 1.56. When they showed it to me I lay down the ground and started crying. I was really happy because God came through.
10. In 2019 did you think you would win in Monaco? (1 Ajee Wilson 1 :57.73 2 Goule 1 :57.90)
I think I made a couple of mistakes in the race like trying to be on the outside almost all the race and I had tried to pass on the curve. If because it’s a long curve and I really didn’t know where the 150 mark was. I should have been more patient. But as I said, things don’t come before time and I am happy. But I am happy to be at the place where I know I will continue to strive and push forward.
11. What are you like as a person?
When I’m around people, I seem that I’m a jovial person and always active. But when I’m at home I just lie on my bed and watch movies. Off season me and my teammates play sports and watch movies. I encourage persons, because I love to do that.
12. Tell me about your faith
My faith impacts my life a lot, because I realized, for me not just to be successful but to be happy I need to have my faith in God and always be on track with him. My faith is really, really, strong and I always try to encourage people.
13. How do you assess the 2019 season?
It was a decent season. Not as good as 2018 but definitely one of my best seasons ever
14. What is your assessment of your performance in the World Championships in Doha? (Sixth 2:00.11)
It could have been better, but my performance was decent. I was really happy with the way I progressed through the rounds. There were a couple of mistakes I made in the final but I think I have learned a lot from mistakes that I have made and there are things that I am working on. But I am pleased that I now feel that I am competitive in every race I am in.
Main interview August 2019, additional questions April 2020