Having clocked the second-fastest time of his career last season, national 400m record holder Rusheen McDonald is even more determined and focused on delivering even faster times on a consistent basis this year.
McDonald, whose 43.93 seconds which was done at the World Athletics Championships in Beijing in 2015, was also the fastest Jamaican in the world last year with a time of 44.03.
In fact, McDonald’s time was the third-fastest time in the world for 2023, behind Steven Gardiner of The Bahamas’ time of 43.74 and Muzala Samukonga’s (Zambia) 43.91 seconds.
The 31-year-old McDonald told the Jamaica Observer that he is very excited about the possibilities this season and noted that his main focus is to dip below the 44-second marker.
“Last year, I ran 44.03, and so definitely, I am hoping to hit the 43-second marker, and I am promising you that I am going to do it this year,” McDonald said.
“My mindset is very strong because I have people who are motivating me, and I don’t have any problems now, so I am just putting in the training right now, hopefully, everything will come together at the right time,” McDonald stated.
The veteran athlete, who has struggled with a number of back injuries during his career, highlighted that he has recovered from these issues and has been working assiduously in training this season. The last time he set a personal best in the 400m came after he has established a lifetime mark in the 200m and McDonald is hoping to replicate this performance with the mini target of a personal best over the 200m during this campaign.
“I am training well this year because there are no injuries, and so I am just hoping to get a lot faster, so as I am dying to run some 200 metres so I can get a PB and stuff like that,” McDonald said.
His 200m PB currently stands at 20.57 seconds.
“The body is feeling quite fine because back in the days, I used to have a lot of back injuries and stuff like that, but I have gotten over most of that now,” he pointed out.
“My goal is to try to make the team to Paris and try to get a medal, but I am not putting any pressure on myself because I am just working with my coach’s instructions.
McDonald opened his season at the JAAA Fuller/Anderson Development Meet last Saturday at the GC Foster College with a 6.88 seconds clocking in the men’s 60m event.
He outlined that he was happy with his performance because he is using the 60m to help increase his speed over the 400m as he plans to compete in the event at the World Indoor Championships in March of this year.
“I am planning to run some 400 metres at World Indoors, and so I am just using these 60 meters to get some speed under my belt,” he said.
“But I also need to get some faster 100m and faster 200m times, and I will be quite fine. So I think that World Indoors will definitely help me to achieve that,” McDonald pointed out.
He also mentioned that there are a lot of quality young Jamaican quarter-milers out there, and so he is preparing himself mentally and physically for a fierce battle whenever he competes against them this season.
“You have to put in the work because you have a lot of young quarter-milers that are coming up, and so you have to prepare yourself mentally and physically,” McDonald said.