By Chris Galakoutis
Wednesday, August 2 2006 10:31:26 AM
The last time Nic Macrozonaris spent a weekend in Ottawa, it was to collect his belongings and close out a very successful stint working with Canadian track coach Glenroy Gilbert.
When he returns to Ottawa this weekend for the Canadian track & field championships, he will be looking to collect one final item: his 3rd Canadian 100m title and 6th consecutive top-3 finish.
After two sub-par years marred by injuries of varying degree, Macrozonaris decided in late 2005 to shuffle things up a bit, and set up an Ottawa training base. That decision bore fruit with strong indoor results, running consistently good times culminating with a season’s best time in the 60 metres in early February - 6.61 seconds - a neighborhood he had merely observed from a distance since the 2002-2003 season.
But he suffered a leg injury shortly after that, one he has been struggling to recover from the last few months. The injury was another in a string of ailments that followed his breakthrough year of 2003, where he set his PB of 10.03 seconds and made the semi-finals at the World Championships in Paris.
That series of injuries - one even Evel Knievel would be proud of - reduced the former high-flyer to a mediocre runner, one who, as he told us when contacted yesterday, has been written off by the public.
As a result, the only flying he has been doing these days is under most radar screens. And that is how he likes it for the time being.
“I feel very good, I’m in good shape,” said Macrozonaris from his Laval home. “I’m very excited about nationals this year, haven’t been for a couple of years now.
“I kind of prefer it this way this year. Nobody expects me to win.”
This weekend’s championship was not originally set for Ottawa, but was moved there earlier this year. With his successes there last winter, and only a two hour drive from Montreal, it is practically in Macrozonaris’ back yard - and this has him pretty excited.
“It’s our nation’s capital, as well as headquarters for Athletics Canada. I’d like to put on a good show for them,” he added with a laugh, alluding to his well publicized funding feud with the federation. It was that funding cut-off that forced Macrozonaris to abandon his Ottawa training base due to the costs involved. :eek:
If the excitement in his voice is any indication, it might be a good show indeed this weekend.