Meet Tyler Jonhson: Exeter’s Record Breaking Runner

‘The Drop’ profiles Tyler Johnson – Exeter’s athlete who can run the 100m faster than the average bloke can bolt.

100m 200m Athletics

Those of you affiliated with our university’s Athletics Club may well be familiar with the name Tyler Johnson. For those whom that name rings no bells of recognition, however, Tyler, in short, is the quickest man on campus.

The second year Philosophy student broke his previous 200m university record, earning himself an admirable fourth place finish, with a time of 21.62s at the Men’s British Athletics League meet on Sunday 27th May – an event that attracts the competition of the country’s best athletes.

Perspective on how fast Tyler’s record breaking race was can be gauged via Adam Gamili, for instance, the event’s winner from Blackheath and Bromley Athletics Club, who finished with a time of 20.75s0.10s off the required standards for Olympic qualification and 0.22s off the Commonwealth Record.

In regard to the race, Tyler said: “earlier that day (in the 100m) I ran 10.99s into a big headwind of -1.8 meters per second and had a good start so I knew from that run (that I would run well in the 200m). I had lane one and didn’t run the bend as well as I have before but the straight was fine. I knew if I hit the bend harder, then, and got the transition right I could hopefully go 21.5s or perhaps even 21.4s”.

Whilst Tyler, the reigning 100m and 200m Devon County champion, has now established himself as the region’s finest sprinter (Sunday’s 21.62s lifted him to the top of the South West rankings), athletics has not always been the focus of his aspiration. In fact, only after his P.E teacher suggested he should consider sprinting did Tyler begin to do during the daybreak of his teenage years.

With a time of 14 seconds, his first competitive race in the 100m contrasted somewhat to his current personal best of 10.7. “By the end of the year, though, I had got down to 12.3s in the 100m and 25.2s in the 200m,” Tyler says, “and from then I eventually had to give up football and rugby after running got more serious. A broken collarbone then meant I had to have a metal plate inserted, which meant I had to give up contact sports like rugby at school.”

When asked whether he could run even faster than 21.62s in the 200m, Tyler responded: “I believe I can. This year I always said after the indoor season that I was looking to run 21.6s, and that at an absolute push I could perhaps run 21.4s. With favorable conditions and a good race I’m hoping sub 21.6s will come on the 10th June at the Bedford International Games or at Nationals the week later – Bedford is a quick track especially when the conditions are right.”

When questioned, also, about the who stands the best chance of catching Jamaica’s speedster, Usain Bolt, at this year’s Olympics, Tyler replied: “Tyson Gay in the 100m and Yohan Blake in the 200m.” With Blake running 9.82s at the beginning of May, Gay returning to full fitness and Bolt running his slowest ever 100m time recently (10.04s), your predictions, Tyler, may well be proved to be true by the end of this sport-filled summer.

Tyler's Athlete Profile (dating back to 2006) can be viewed here.