Wants to represent her homeland in 2012 Olympics
By Sean Devers
With three pre-teen children to care for at the mature age of 37, United States of America-based (USA) Guyanese-born long distance runner Euleen Josiah-Tanner has been enjoying tremendous recent success and her goal is to represent Guyana in next year’s London Olympics.
The slimly-built Berbician migrated to Atlanta, Georgia 16 years ago after graduating from the Cyril Potter College of Education (CPCE) and entered the Permeter College before attending the Western International University where she majored in Business Management.
She is now a full-time mom tending to her children who are aged 2, 7 & 11 but running is her first love and she says she has little problem balancing her personal life and her career as an athlete.
“If you want success in anything you do you have to make the time to prepare. I run on the treadmill every morning then after the kids are off to school I hit the road for endurance and speed runs. I train six days a week and enjoy doing the hard work,” Euleen told Kaieteur Sport.
Despite leaving her homeland at 17 for a better future, Euleen is no stranger to Guyana as an athlete. She says her love for running and her country brings her home every year to compete in local events at her own expense.
The talented runner, who departs Guyana on Friday to compete in Barbados before traveling to run in Grenada, finished second to Brazilian Antonia Lins DeSilva in this month’s South American 10K race held in Guyana with a time of 39 minutes, 57 seconds.
The qualified school teacher just returned from Martinique where she was the first Caribbean female athlete to finish the ½ Marathon on that Island last Sunday.
Euleen finished sixth overall from a field of 2,000 which included 50 specially invited elite distance runners from several countries including African nations. She however said her time of 1 hour, 29 minutes, 6 seconds in Martinique was five minutes and four seconds slower than her best ½ Marathon time.
After winning the 2011 CARICOM 10K event in St Kitts in July, the garrulous woman easily won the Courts 10K in Guyana in September before returning to the USA to win the Peach Tree 15K Classic in a time of 57 minutes, 58 seconds on October 15.
Euleen, who disclosed that she has already voiced her interest in representing Guyana in next year’s Olympics to President of the Amateur Athletic Association of Guyana (AAA) Colin Boyce, feels age is just a number, adding that she intends to continue running competitively until ‘the Lord calls her home’.
The athlete who hopes to participate in the 10,000 meters or Marathon in the 2012 London Olympics stared running at age 10 in Canje, Berbice and represented the Blayden Hall Multilateral when she moved with her parents to the East Coast of Demerara.
A regular at the local National Schools Championships, Euleen also represented the New Amsterdam Multilateral at ‘Nationals’ after she returned to the Ancient County after spending four years in Demerara.
“I love running and I enjoy being with my fellow Guyanese at local events here. I come home because I want them (local athletes) to know that there are overseas athletes willing to participate in local events,” Euleen, who has participated at Guyana’s National Schools Championships not only as a student but also a teacher, disclosed.
The Guyanese is self Coached although she trains with an American track club and feels that while there is plenty of potential in Guyana, more support is needed if Guyana is to improve to the level where they can really compete and dominate at the Regional and International level.
“The foundation of success is proper preparation. Athletes need to have knowledge ….not only about going on the road and running but they need to be educated about the technical aspects of their sport, how to eat properly, how to rest, what drugs are off-limits even for normal illness and so on,” Euleen said.
Euleen explained that while long distance runners don’t need ‘any fancy track’ to train on they should be careful not to train on the road for extensive periods since it could cause injury to them. She also advised them to read as much as possible about their sport.
“Those in authority should not only focus on athletes from the City but those from the rural and interior locations by getting the best young runners from all over the country and bring them to a central location for a proper training camp to develop their overall ability,” Euleen opined.
Funding for such a venture could prove problematic but the American-based runner feels that such funds should be put aside by the Guyana Government who should work along with the AAA and GOA since she says, when the runners do well Guyana as a country benefits in many ways.
Having a full time career as an athlete and looking after three small children is never an easy task and Euleen said the support of her American Husband Raymel Tanner has played a huge rule in her success.
She also thanked Janita Poe, Elizabeth Turner, Jackie Strickland, Malaika Azore and her mother Yvette Josiah for the support they have given her over the years.
The livewire young lady says whenever she runs she wears Guyana’s colours and sports a Guyana flag.
If all goes well for her, Guyana’s image could be given a further boost in next year’s London Olympics which will be viewed by millions around the world as Euleen participates in the Marathon in ‘official’ Guyana colours.
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