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Philip Osei: Run Your Way

After struggling with injury, the 400m runner is giving the Olympics one last shot in 2024

Philip Osei Photo by: Nick Iwanyshyn

400m runner Philip Osei has been racing in the Toronto area since he was in high school and discovered that the 400 metres was where he excelled. But his life hasn’t just revolved around the track—he’s also a videographer, and balances his time between work, family and his deep passion for running. 

In high school, Osei raced his buddies in the hallways and skipped class occasionally to watch track meets in Etobicoke, Ont.’s Centennial Park, right across from his high school. He fell in love with the sport and joined the school team, where his coach became a mentor. “It was my first time being coached in my life,” recalls Osei. “He built that love and foundation for the 400m for me.” 

He excelled early in the 400m, and it started to pay off: at 19, he was selected for a team to race in Mexico, and it was his first experience travelling by air. “I’ll never forget that, because you kind of dream of that stuff, especially where I grew up. But there, I got to experience that track environment, and I saw some renowned track athletes racing and realized that I was among them. I felt like, I belong here.” Since then, he’s raced in more than 30 countries, and now, as he thinks about the next phase of his life and career, he wants to help others experience that lifestyle. 

Osei continued racing through college at the University of Guelph and signed with New Balance after university. Unfortunately, an injury took him away from racing, but he has since reconnected with the sport he still loves. He’s back to racing, but he’s already thinking about his next phase of life—after he makes his final Olympic bid. 

Philip Osei
Philip Osei at the Toronto Track and Field Centre. Photo: Nick Iwanyshyn

Coaching and personal training are at the top of his mind these days, even as he pushes himself to be at his best for the coming season. “As an athlete, you have to be mindful that your body can’t last forever,” he says. “But while you got it, you got it. I was blessed with this talent, and I’m gonna keep doing it, if I can. But that doesn’t mean I have to kill myself and make the Olympic dream, because I am really content with what I’ve done.

“Right now, I am physically and mentally locking myself in as if I am going to compete in the Olympics, and I’ll see where that takes me,” Osei says. “I’m starting to feel pretty athletic.”

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And if it doesn’t happen? “That time off with my injury allowed me to really map out how I want to live my life after track,” he says. “I have a family now. I have a baby girl and a beautiful wife at home. Before them, track was it. This was all I had, in a sense. But now I have a home outside of the track. And for me, track is now becoming fun again.”

That’s what “Run Your Way” means to Osei now. “To me, it means balance,” he says. “Track has provided me the balance and taught me how to feel within my body and perform at a standard of excellence as an athlete. This sport has taught me so much about the body dynamics, functional movement, strength and conditioning, fitness, resistance training, mobility, yoga–all the aspects of fitness and life. We get to do that, as professionals and as poets. Track is poetry: we get to display our art to the world.”

 

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