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Track and fielder shares some of his best (and worst) memories

Photo credit: Dan Kilbank

Meet Toluwalope Makinde—or Tolu, as most people know him—member of the men’s varsity track and field team at the University of Ottawa. Finishing up his last year at the Telfer School of Management, this quick-footed Gee-Gee—not to mention former national and provincial youth champion in the 200-metre dash—is bursting with talent both on and off the field.

The Fulcrum: When did you first get involved in track and field?
Early, like at five years old, everyone is forced to do track and field on that one day at school. I was the kid that just continued to run to see how much faster I could be. I only started consistently training in Grade 10.

What would you consider to be a highlight memory?

My highlight as a Gee-Gee would definitely be the 2012 CIS (Canadian Interuniversity Sport) track season. I came in as a rookie to join an amazing team of veterans. We broke a long-standing CIS national record in the 4×200-metre by close to a second, and turned around in 20 minutes to win the 4×400-metre gold as well.

Have you had any of what could be considered bad experiences in track and field?

My worst experience had to be being injured last year. I was barely able to jog for five months. I took the opportunity to get stronger because you always have to make the best of a situation.

What are some of your other hobbies?

Outside of track and field, I spend a lot of time on photography and playing bass guitar. I’ve always viewed myself as an artist before I viewed myself as an athlete too.

Who inspires you?

For most of my life I never really looked up to any one person. There are bits and pieces of everybody’s story that can be so revealing and inspiring. My older brother probably had the most influence when he made the Olympics in 2012. It showed me hard work beyond talent is essential to success.

What has been your most embarrassing moment?

One time in high school I was so tired at the end of a race, and I tripped after the finish line and face-planted into the track. To make matters worse it was at the city championships. Believe me, it’s not fun.

What is your biggest pet peeve?

When people aren’t paying attention and walk onto the track while others are full-out sprinting. It’s nearly impossible for a sprinter to stop their momentum that quickly. I’ve had my fair share of collisions.

What do you like most about Ottawa?

The best thing about Ottawa is the diversity of people you get to meet. Also, a lot of good places to eat if you take the time to look.