Being an indoor track athlete has its challenges physically, but also mentally.
That’s according to Red Deer Polytechnic Queens indoor track athlete Justine Larson who competed in the Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference (ACAC) Running Room Grand Prix No. 2 in Red Deer.
She explained as a long-distance runner knowing you have to run approximately seven laps or more can be daunting but can be easier with the support of her teammates.
“It’s definitely helpful to have very motivating teammates that are always there supporting you and cheering you on,” she said.
“Another challenge is later in the season is preventing injuries. We’ve been running since August so just keeping up and making sure your body feels good.”
The second-year athlete has been running since she was in Grade four. Previously, she used the sport as a tool to keep herself in shape while playing other sports like basketball, ringette, and hockey.
“By Grade 12 I had a really strong love for running and I decided that was what I wanted to pursue,” she said. “I got scouted to come to compete here in Red Deer and I just love it more every day.”
“Going for a run knowing I got my heart rate up that makes me feel good. I’ve also made a lot of lifelong friends here at Red Deer. Being able to run with them every day is probably my favourite part of my day.”
On Saturday at the Running Room Grand Prix No. 2 hosted by Red Deer Polytechnic at the Gary W. Harris Canada Games Centre she competed in the 1,000 metre, 1,500 m, and the women’s 4x400m relay.
Larson was satisfied with her performance in the 1,000m race after she finished just 10 seconds behind the second place SAIT Trojans.
“I felt like I had a good pace to start out with,” she said. “The two girls ahead of me are quite a bit faster and I’ve known that all season through cross country. Maybe next year I’ll get a little faster in the summer and catch up with them.”
Red Deer’s Jenica Swartz finished in first place in the 1,000m with a time of 3:07.20 defending her title from the first Running Room Grand Prix in January. Swartz also finished first in the women’s 600m in 1:42.
In the men’s 1,000m Red Deer Polytechnic’s Ethan Duret finished in second place just 10 seconds ahead of the next-best runner. He also claimed first in the men’s 600m with a time of 1:26.30.
Also in the women’s 4x200m relay race, the Queens placed second losing to the SAIT Trojans and the Kings came in third in the men’s relay race.
In the last race of the day, the Kings (3:43.40) took home first place in the 4x400m relay race and the Queens (4:32.30) came in second behind SAIT.
The Kings and Queens finished on top of the standings in both the men’s and women’s competitions. The Queens led all the schools with 56 points and on the men’s side, the Kings posted 64.50 points.
In the season’s first Grand Prix in January in Edmonton, the Queens won with 71 points and the Kings finished in second with 62 points
“Hopefully we can keep this up and win provincials,” she added.
This was the final Grand Prix event of the season and next up will be the ACAC Championships on March 18-19 cohosted by Concordia University, Northwestern Polytechnic, The Kings University and the University of Alberta-Augustana.