Yukoners give their best on the track

No Yukoner ran their way to a medal this week at the Western Canada Summer Games, but the athletics team still generated a lengthy list of accomplishments.

KAMLOOPS, BC

No Yukoner ran their way to a medal this week at the Western Canada Summer Games, but the athletics team still generated a lengthy list of accomplishments.

The team of Logan Roots, Brittany Pearson, Logan Boehmer and Aiden Bradley literally gave it their best, producing their fastest-ever times in almost every race.

“Seeing the best runners in Canada really makes you want to train hard coming out of the Games,” said Pearson following the 3,000-metre race on Tuesday. “It was exciting hearing so many records get broken. A lot of guys and girls have been breaking Western Games here.

“So it’s nice to know you’re competing against people who are breaking records.”

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An accomplished cross-country skier in the winter, Pearson, 20, took seventh out of 10 in the 3,000 on Tuesday and ninth out of 12 runners in the 1,500-metre on Saturday, cutting 15 seconds of her previous best time in the latter.

“I was pretty impressed with myself for shaving off 15 seconds in a pretty short race,” said Pearson, who won the women’s category of Yukon’s Five-Kilometre Road Race Championships in June. “In the heat, a lot of girls were having trouble shaving off time.”

Roots, 18, the only one to run in three events, withdrew from the 5,000-metre just before the Games to focus on the shorter races.

“With the training we’ve been doing, I felt better doing the shorter (races),” said Roots. “In training, there’s been a lot of 200s and 400s, so I felt better doing the 800 and 1,500.

“They are all personal bests, but I didn’t quite meet my goals in the 1,500 and 3,000.

“In the 1,500 I really wanted to do better, but I didn’t run my own race, I ran everybody else’s race.”

Roots came ninth out of 14 runners in the 3,000 and 12th in both the 1,500 and 800, which had 16 competitors entered.

His second major Games, Roots represented the territory in the 2009 Canada Summer Games. While attending Shawnigan Lake School on Vancouver Island this past year, Roots placed first in five, and second in two races in the Island Series, earning him a top ranking in the 16 to 19 age division.

“Those were all road races,” said Roots. “Nothing I did in the spring was less than five kilometres, mostly 10.”

Running on an injured ankle, Boehmer came ninth in the 5,000 and 14th (last) in the 3,000. It was the first time running both distances in a track event.

“The 5,000 wasn’t really a personal best – it is on a track, but you factor in the spikes and the rubber (track) and everything like that,” said Boehmer.

“I felt our team did really well; a lot of people had personal bests, which is good to see,” he said after the 3,000 on Tuesday. “Today I was happy with my performance. I felt like I gave it my all.”

At just 15, Bradley was not only the youngest on Yukon’s athletics team, he was often the youngest on the track, taking on runners years older.

“They were good (performances), I don’t think I could have done much better with the amount of training we’ve been doing,” said Bradley. “The 200 (stands out) because I did it in 26 seconds flat. That’s cool.”

He placed last in the 200- and 400-metre events. But the fact that he produced personal best times under pressure and in greater than 30-degree heat, makes his future look promising.

In fact, the future, specifically the 2013 Canada Summer Games, is exactly what Yukon head coach Don White is focused on.

“In this group, Brittany, Logan and Logan will finish their careers, as far as being able to compete at these (Games) at that point, because they will age out after the next one,” said White. “Aiden, on the other hand, has two Canada Games and the next Western Games to go to, so he has three more Western Games to go to, if he has the interest.”

Besides helping Yukon’s runners get faster, branching out into other athletics events, such as the long jump, high jump, shot put and others, is another a goal.

“The big thing now, with their successes, is to attract other athletes,” said White.

“We had one young guy who was coming out training in javelin this year, but wasn’t able to make it. We’ve had people in the past come out and do discus and shot put.

“It’s the interest of the athlete, not the interest of the coach. If the kids don’t want to do it, there’s no way the kids are going to have any success.”

Contact Tom Patrick at

tomp@yukon-news.com

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