Local Sports: Owen Pimm sets high goals for cross-country skiing, and his future

Almost from the time he could walk Owen Pimm has been on cross-country skis.

“My dad (Jeff) was into skiing and he got me started when I was two,” explained the 16-year-old native of Red Deer. “The whole family was into skiing … it was the thing to do.”

Pimm fell in love with the sport and today the Lindsay Thurber Grade 10 student is one of the premier athletes at his division in the country.

Cross-country skiing isn’t for everyone. It’s a tough, mentally and physically challenging sport.

“It is tough but so rewarding,” said Pimm. “When you finish a race you realize what you put into it … that the work paid off. Even when you don’t win you still do well. It’s good to see it pay off.”

And it has for Owen, who competes for the Red Deer Nordic Ski Club and Cross Country Skiing Alberta. In February he brought home a gold from the juvenile boys’ sprint freestyle at the Alberta Winter Games and a gold from the Hayward Western Championships in the juvenile boys’ 10km relay. Earlier in the season he was fifth in the U19 Canadian Birkebeiner 31km race.

In March he attended the Canadian championships for the second straight year and was 18th in the 7.5km skate race, 11th in sprint qualifier and an impressive third in the 5km Classic.

“I like the skate races the best … being able to go fast, but I also like the longer races,” he said.

Owen, who is a French Immersion honors student, missed the 10km race at the Nationals as he left on a school trip to France.

The Birkebeiner was the biggest race he’s been involved in.

“It was different than most races as you had competitors at all levels. It’s also a race were you can’t just go hard, you have to be in control and pace yourself.”

Pimm started his competitive career when he was seven in the Bob Johnstone Loppet.

“That was my first race and what I remember it was really cold. It seemed everyone dropped out because of the cold, but I kept going,” he said with a laugh.

From there on he started competing in bigger races including the Alberta Cup Series.

Pimm gives a lot of credit to his coaches — Les Parsons and Alanna Butler.

“Les was before Alanna. He worked with Becky Scott and Alex Harvey and along with Alanna helped me a lot,” Pimm added, who is in his second year on the Alberta Development team.

He was also a member of the Triathlon Alberta’s development squad after finishing second in the 2016 provincials in the 14-15 year-old division and third in 2017.

However, Owen indicated he’s cutting back on the triathlon and concentrating more on track and field.

“I enjoyed the running part of the triathlon and because of it I’m concentrating on the track more,” explained the five-foot-nine Pimm, who ran cross-country, finishing eighth in the Alberta School Athletic Association championship for LTCHS, and will compete in the 800-metres to 3,000m during the track and field outdoor season

“I got involved in cross-country in Middle School and also ran the Dawe Run. I wasn’t that good but seemed to have more success in Grade 9,” he said.

He was the Grade 9 MVP in track and cross-country and credits LTCHS distance coach Geoff Parker for his growth.

Pimm’s competitive nature will no doubt help him succeed at whatever he does and possibly one day reach his goal of competing for Canada in cross-country skiing.

Danny Rode is a retired Advocate reporter who can be reached at drode@reddeeradvocate.com.

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