Whitehorse’s Kieran Halliday was wearing a school jersey that read “Saints” with a racing bib on the front with the number 666.
It was a bit of an odd mix. But not many of Halliday’s competitors saw the bib number – most of them were far behind him.
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 in Aldergrove on Saturday.
“I was really happy with my results,” said Halliday. “Last year I kind of bombed out of the B.C.s. This year I was way more focused, I was way more prepared, I was training much harder. When it came down to the race, I was way more ready.”
“I’m really happy I managed to pull this off in my last year,” he added.
Halliday, who was running for the St. George’s School Saints in Vancouver, placed 51st in the same category last year.
On Saturday he completed the 6.3-kilometre course in 21 minutes and 50 seconds and was the top runner from his school in the division.
His placement helped the Saints team finish eighth in the senior division.
“We came second in my first year, fifth in my second year and eighth in my third year,” said Halliday. “So we haven’t managed to get back up on the podium as a team.
“We have a really young team this year.”
Halliday took first in the Independent Schools Association’s regional cross-country championships last month.
“It was the same course, but they changed a couple corners,” said Halliday. “I was running faster because I’ve been training a bit more and the course was a bit shorter, so my time was quite a bit faster.”
He partly credits his improved result on training for the Canada Summer Games at which he raced this past August in Sherbrooke, Que. But that’s not all.
“I’m also getting a bit older, a bit stronger, a bit faster too,” said Halliday. “I can handle more training . My body is more capable of handling this kind of thing.”
Halliday was Team Yukon’s flag-bearer at the opening ceremony at the Canada Summer Games in Sherbrooke, Que., in August.
He was one of just two athletes from the territory to compete in two different sports at the Games, in tennis in week one and athletics in week two.
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.
The weekend before the high school championships, Whitehorse’s Logan Roots raced at the B.C. Cross Country Championships in Abbotsford. Roots, who was a Canada Games teammate of Halliday, placed 16th at the in the open division (men 20-34).
Both Whitehorse runners plan to compete at the 2013 Canadian Cross Country Championship in Vancouver at the end of the month.
“This weekend I’ve just been relaxing, taking a break from the whole thing,” said Halliday. “Next week I’m probably going to start training again, just going at it strong for a couple weeks. Then I’m going to be as ready as I can be.”
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