By Regina Shiroma
Derek Mandell could run since he could walk. Or at least it would seem that way.
“My dad was a runner; then my mom picked it up a little later. So it became a family thing,” said Derek, the youngest of three boys.
The 25-year-old had been clocking in stellar times in recent track and field events, thus was chosen by the Guam National Olympic Committee to represent Guam in the 2012 London Olympic Games. Derek will be competing in the 800-meter run, going up against the world with a personal best of one minute, 56 seconds, and 51 milliseconds.
This will be Derek’s second Olympic appearance. In the 2008 Beijing Olympics, Derek broke his personal record for the 800 in front of the world and plans on doing it again.
“You always want to improve your performances,” said Derek. He aims to “first of all to drop my personal best again—to actually try to be in the race.”
In order to put his complete focus on the Olympics, Derek committed his time and energy on his training regime in the last three months before the games. He quit his job and left to Australia to train and to participate in the Oceania championships. Derek is confident that all his hard work and training will pay off come the preliminaries on August 6.
“At the Oceania championships I came away with a personal best in the 800, and I felt I didn’t have a good race, and I feel like once my training is all complete it’ll be around the time of the Olympics and hopefully I’ll run a lot faster than I’ve been running.”
Derek lives and breathes the sport he loves. He runs at least 12 miles a day and when he’s not running he’s looking for ways to better his running.
And though others might think less of running, he finds his passion and ambition from something inside himself and just from the years of being a part of the sport.
“Inner drive. I’m never really satisfied in myself, for anything. But running has been such a big part of my life that I feel like I always have to be better than I’ve been or else I don’t feel complete.”
It being his first time in London, Derek is thrilled to be a part of the experience. “I’m pretty excited. I’m more excited about being able to have the opportunity to race against the best.”
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