World indoor 800m champion Adam Kszczot loves his specialist event and running in general. The six-time European gold medallist explains exactly why.
I love running because it gives me a sense of freedom. That feeling of freedom ranks high on my list of priorities in life. It means that all I need is a good pair of shoes and I can run wherever I want and when I want. There are no limits.
I specifically love the 800m because it’s challenging. It’s challenging in various ways. Everyone suffers after 600 metres, sometimes it’s 500 metres. You have to find your own way to run as fast as you can until the finish line.
It gives you the opportunity to develop different skills. Very, very different skills: strength, speed, endurance. Special endurance for 800m; it’s very complicated, almost like a game of chess. That’s why I love it so much.
As a kid, I started in cross-country running, covering distances from one to two kilometres. It was fun. I didn’t understand what I was doing or why I was running but it was fun. I felt a lot of acceptance from my schoolmates and they loved what I do, so that helped me to find myself in athletics.
Later on, as an under-18, I started to run 600m and 1000m. Sooner or later the 800m became my event and I started specialising in it from 2006.
It was only in 2007 that I realised athletics could be a possible career choice. Education still came first, though. My mother was a maths teacher and she always told me that I had to have a good education in order to live a good life.
Much later, in 2010, I became senior European champion. That was the moment I was sure that athletics was something I would stay involved in.
I get a huge kick from both training and competition. For example, when I’m jogging a half marathon kind of distance and I feel good and have a nice pace, it makes me happy. I feel confident and I’m filled with good emotions.
In a race, the feeling you get when you cross the finish line and it’s in a fast time, it’s so good. Sometimes you have a really bad result; that happens too. But that gives me another kick in turning a negative into a positive.
Jon Mulkeen for the IAAF