Rain, mud and chilly temperatures made for tough races at the Canadian National Cross Country Championships on Saturday.
Just ask the three Whitehorse runners who battled the elements in the nationals at Jericho Beach in Vancouver, B.C.
“It wasn’t a type of race you ran for times, let’s just say that,” said Whitehorse’s Lindsay Carson. “It was a really muddy course, rainy, cold.”
Carson’s time might not be fast for a seven-kilometre course, but it sure was compared to the rest of the field.
The 24-year-old took fourth place in the senior women’s division, completing the race in 25:05.99, just 18 seconds behind the bronze finisher.
“It went really well, I definitely surpassed a lot of my expectations going into the race,” said Carson, who moved to Whitehorse from Ontario during the summer. “This my first season training in the Yukon. I’m not going to lie, it’s been pretty tough, especially with the late cross-country season. Most Yukon athletes pack it up and go snowshoeing come October, but I still had to train hard in November.
“It was a big confidence builder, showing I still got it.”
Carson has competed at several other cross-country nationals, but Saturday was just her second time in the senior women division. Her best placement was second place in junior women at the 2008 nationals in Guelph, Ont.
Carson took 10th place last year in senior women.
Whitehorse’s Logan Roots ran to 46th in the senior men’s division on Saturday.
“I was hoping to do maybe a little bit better than that,” said Roots. “The race overall, I didn’t feel like it was one of my better ones. I still beat quite a few people, so that was good.”
Saturday was Roots’ first time competing at the cross-country nationals. The 20-year-old completed the 10-kilometre course in 35:44.41.
“The times were terrible. No one liked the times,” said Roots. “Even the winner’s time was considerably slower than any other 10-kilometre.
“Some might call that great conditions for cross-country, I didn’t like it too much. It was pouring rain all day and since we were the last race of the day, the track was really, really muddy.”
Whitehorse’s Kieran Halliday had a rough race in junior men. Halliday withdrew from the race after the first of four laps in the eight-kilometre race.
“After a lap, I really wasn’t feeling too good,” said Halliday. “I wasn’t tired, per se, my stomach was just having a really bad day. I felt like I was going to puke, was cramping up, I couldn’t breathe.
“I just couldn’t imagine doing three more laps after that, so I just had to call it quits.”
The 17-year-old ran to 19th out of 242 runners in the senior boys division at the B.C. High School Cross Country Championships at the start of November.
“This was my first nationals, so I’m a little disappointed, but I’m going to train really hard this winter and try to come back,” said Halliday.
Roots, who competes for Prairie Inn Harriers Running Club in Victoria, placed 16th at the British Columbia Cross Country Championships in the open division (men 20-34) at the end of October. He also finished 12th overall and was third for men 20-24 in the half-distance of the Victoria Marathon in the middle of October.
Roots and Halliday were on Yukon’s athletics team at the Canada Summer Games this past August in Sherbrooke, Que. And both marked firsts for the territory’s team.
Roots became the first Yukoner to make a final at the Canada Games. He made the A final in the 1,500-metre race, setting a personal best time of 3:59.95 to place 11th overall out of 22 runners.
In Sherbrooke, Halliday became the first from the territory to compete in the 3,000-metre steeplechase in athletics, placing 12th out of 16 runners with a time of 10:02.02.
Halliday, who was Yukon’s flag-bearer during the Games, was one of just two athletes on the team to compete in two different sports at the Games, in tennis in week one and athletics in week two.
Carson also had a productive season. She took 60th in the senior women’s race at the IAAF World Cross Country Championships last March in Poland. She placed fourth in the 5,000-metre at the Canadian Track and Field Championships in Muncton, N.B., in June.
She was also the top female – and second overall – in the half distance of the Yukon River trail Marathon in August.
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