BTC Athlete Spotlight: Mohammed Ahmed

Mohammed Ahmed’s impressive career as a runner can easily be broken down into his life experiences and approach to running as a whole. Mo spent his formative years growing up in St. Catharines Ontario, a beautiful city right on the border of Canada and western New York. It was here where he discovered running and more importantly, a competitive drive that is clearly still with him today. Moh points to his brothers as his introduction to sport, and it was through their “battles,” as he puts it, throughout a variety of sports, that he came to fall in love with running. On weekends, Moh and his brothers would go watch local track meets furthering the extent running played in his earlier years.

Moh’s early passion for running is backed up by an impressive Junior career, where he was Canadian Junior Champion in the 5,000m four times, along with several appearances at World Juniors. Taking this momentum, Mo attended the University of Wisconsin, where he was soon to join a long lineage of Bowerman TC “Badgers.”  He points to his time as Wisconsin Badger as the start of a “longer than expected” journey to Bowerman Track Club. With eyes westward, Moh took note of the many Wisconsin alums running under coach Jerry Schumacher, at what was at the time the Oregon Track Club. For Moh, these big named badgers such as Chris Solinsky and Matt Tegenkamp, served as his “heroes” and it was by looking up to them that he began to formulate a future in Oregon training under Jerry and the soon to be Bowerman TC. Jerry eventually did reach out, and Moh has been the perfect fit for the group ever since.

Since joining Bowerman, Moh notes an interesting dynamic in the group that is oddly similar to his initial start with running. Recalling the competitive brotherly nature that Moh grew up in, the Bowerman teammates he now trains with, such as Chris Derrick, Elliott Heath, German Fernandez, and Ryan Hill, were all former collegiate rivals. Now in the same club however, Moh points out how great it is to “unite and be working together.” With such competitive people, especially with the combined collegiate successes coming in, the brotherly dynamic is why it works and why Moh feels he is getting better.

Marking the transition from college to running professionally, Moh impressively continues to have break-out performances. As a Badger, Moh racked up 11 NCAA All-American awards in track and cross-country, along with an Olympic berth in the 10,000m at the 2012 London Olympic Games. He finished off his collegiate career with a 9th place finish in the 2013 World Championships in Moscow, where he set the Canadian record in the 10,000m at the time. With Bowerman Track Club, the teamwork training techniques of Jerry are clearly paying off as Moh most recently set the Canadian 5,000m record in 13:01.7, followed up by a near miss of the bronze medal with a fourth place finish in the 5,000m in the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.

Specifically regarding the culture of the men’s Bowerman team, Moh points out that competition is key to keeping everyone at their highest level, but with an important distinction; “We’re mainly not competitive with each other, we’re competitive with the goals that were set for us by Jerry.” Continuing on in an almost diplomatic tone, Mo said, “the competitive need to drop each other is taken out on the competition, and on the race.”

Off the track, the brotherly dynamic continues by a culture of “mainly just making fun of each other,” Moh said with a laugh. Individually speaking however, Moh spends his time reading, watching House of Cards on Netflix, but most interestingly, translating Somali poetry.  Classifying himself as a “big poetry lover,” Moh has continued the work he was doing in his last two years of college translating and “scribbling” Somali poetry. Partly to “keep his mind active” and partly out of genuine interest, Moh elegantly states that many of the messages of the poems he has spent hours with, speak with poignant prevalence to world issues of today. Nicknamed “Scoop” by his fellow teammates, Moh concerns himself with always having choice information on topics, which Chris Derrick is always happy to play devils advocate to.

Both as an athlete and person, Mohammed Ahmed is a key component to the Bowerman family, and though he thrives off of the competitive atmosphere, he is committed to getting better together.