Robyn Meagher, originally from Antigonish, Nova Scotia and later considered Victoria, B.C. as home, was one of Canada’s top middle-distance runners during the 1990s. She won a silver medal during the 1994 Victoria Commonwealth Games in the 3,000m event, second to teammate Angela Chalmers. Meagher also competed in the 1992 Barcelona and 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games, the latter she competed in the 5,000m distance. Meagher competed in several IAAF World Track and Field and Cross Country Championships.
Injury sidelined her athletic career in 2000 while she was preparing for the Sydney Olympic Games. She has since immersed herself in her career as a Registered Clinical Councellor and relocated to St. Catherines, Ontario. She has a Masters degree in Councelling Psychology.
The Victoria Track Classic is celebrating the 20th anniversary since the 1994 Commonwealth Games took place. Below Meagher (pr: Mar) reflects on those games.
800 Metres – 2:05.02
1500 Metres – 4:06.79
3000 Metres – 8:43.71
5000 Metres – 15:21.15
Christopher Kelsall: This year is the 20th anniversary of the 1994 Victoria Commonwealth Games. Do you have fond memories of competing at Centennial Stadium back then?
Robyn Meagher: I do. You can have great experiences in training that make the athletic journey very fulfilling but when you have a wonderful experience when you are competing and it is shared with a stadium full of people that amplifies it.
CK: From an athlete’s perspective how would you describe the differences between the 1992 Barcelona and the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games versus a small – even for Commonwealth Games standards – Victoria Games?
RM: Whether it’s the Olympics or the Commonwealth Games or the Victoria Track Classic, athletes that commit themselves to pursuing their potential, always want to do their best. The seriousness of the Olympics can sometimes carry with it a pressure to perform and not disappoint, that carries a heaviness with it that can become a preparation element to contend with itself. The CWG’s have always been referred to as the “friendly games”. The spirit of competition surrounding this event seems imbued with a lightness that supports positive engagement.
CK: Having bests of 8:43.71 for 3,000m and 15:21.15 in the 5,000m, would you suggest you were a stronger 3,000m runner?
RM: I preferred the event and have more experience at it. With my 1500m background it stands to reason that it would be a stronger event for me.
CK: Do you think athletics needs to bring back the 3,000m?
RM: It would get my vote.
CK: If the 3,000m was to be continued for another Olympiad, do you think you would have continued to improve your times?
RM: My best training and fitness levels were achieved in 2000. Unfortunately, injury prevented that from coming together in race season.
CK: So how much faster do you think you may have run?
RM: My training was in the 4:02 range and around 15 minutes for the 5k
CK: What sort of running do you get up to these days?
RM: I get out for a run on the trails most days with my sweet doggie.
CK: I understand you are moving back to the west coast, yes?
RM: We are grateful for the family time we have had in Ontario and being closer to my family in Nova Scotia these past four years. And we love living on the west coast and look forward to returning to Victoria.
CK: Can you tell me how it felt in 1994, to be at home and waiting for the moment when you were getting reading to walk out onto the track for competition?
RM: The days leading into the competition for the CWGs were not confidence boosters. I knew things could shift quickly, so I stayed focused on getting ready to perform at my best whatever that might be. So many people support you as an athlete you want their efforts as well as your own to bear fruit when you have an event like this. So part of my final preparation was a fine-tuning of what needs attention in my physiology as well as dealing with the emotional and psychological experience of having the Games in my home town. My inner process was one of coming to terms with my hopes and expectations and dealing with the possibility of not achieving them. In my warm up, I remember feeling the excitement of the crowd and my fear receding as I focused on having a great experience whatever that might be.