Nelson's Matti Erickson is Hungry for more International Experiences

matti erickson

Matti Erickson hopes his first experience on the international track and field scene isn’t his last.

The 18-year-old middle-distance runner from Nelson competed for Canada in the 800-metres at the World U-20 championships in Nairobi, Kenya.

The Kootenay Chaos club member was unhappy with his race as he didn’t advance from the heats, but felt he gained invaluable experience by simply being around some of the world’s best track and field athletes.

“Being able to see all of the athletes in a lot of the different events because it’s not just running, you’ve got your pole vaulters, your triple jumpers, so being able to watch them compete at the highest level (was a learning experience), and this year we actually had quite a few Olympians coming back from Tokyo,” said Erickson.

The pandemic prevented Matti from completing a normal season.  He only ran two 800-metre races heading to the world championships including a personal best of time 1:50.80 at provincials, which secured a spot for Matti on the national team.    

The Nelson runner is now heading to the University of Oregon for his freshman year.

Erickson said his new coach has similar training ideas to his local coach, but is excited about the facility south of the border.

“They actually have a track-stadium and a really world class weight facility so with those tools by my side I really think I can make some big benefits,” said Matti who has ambitious goals for the next year.

“If you’re running like four minutes for the mile, or 1:46 for the 800 (metres), that’s kind of the benchmark,” said Matti.

“I don’t know if I’ll get there this (coming) indoor season or outdoor season, but I’m hoping by late year-one or early year-two I’m definitely right there.”

Erickson is hoping his coach at Oregon will allow him to compete at the World U-20 Cross Country championships in Australia next February and has his sights set on next summer’s U-20 world outdoor championships in Cali, Columbia.

“I’m definitely more motivated than ever considering I was rather disappointed with my race (in Kenya), so being able to get back as soon as possible is one of the goals for myself,” said Matti.