Ready for Rio: Bishop on battling ‘traffic’ in the 800-metre

Melissa Bishop crosses the finish line in the senior women 800m run during the Canadian Track and Field Championships and Selection Trials for the 2016 Summer Olympic and Paralympic Games, in Edmonton, Alta., on Sunday July 10, 2016. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Dan Riedlhuber

Melissa Bishop heads to her second Olympics having won silver at worlds in 2015. She talked to Sportsnet about what it’s like to run the 800, a race in which all the competitors bunch up in one lane.

FRIENDS IN CLOSE SPACES “You have eight girls all trying to run in one lane, so you get very used to running in a tight pack. One wrong move and two of you are down, or the whole pack is down. Getting boxed in is tough. It’s hard to get out.”

FLYING ELBOWS “There’s a lot of pushing and shoving and elbowing, but it’s not like we’re doing it on purpose. You want to make sure they know you’re right behind them, or you’re trying to gain position. All the contact, you kind of forget about it once the race is over.”

LEAN ON ME “If you’re in a really tight pack and you feel like you’re going to fall forward, you kind of catch the girl’s back in front of you. It’s more like a reflex, just to keep your own ground.”

DON’T LOOK DOWN “You don’t have to, because you get a gauge for your stride and how far it will go, so you know how much room you need in order to stay upright and not clip the runner in front of you. But you can’t account for the other girls—that’s uncontrollable.”

The first round of the women’s 800-metre race takes place on Aug. 17.