Red Deer’s Jared Howse is no stranger to the national stage, only this time around the stakes have been raised.
Howse, 17, picked up four medals at the Western Canadian Tri Prov Track and Field Championships in Regina, Sask. last weekend. He was third in the 4x400m relay but won the 1500 and 3000 metre races, along with the 2000m steeplechase.
That last of which has likely made him a marked man, as only one other runner his age in Canada has accomplished the feat this season.
Howse recorded the fastest time in Canada in the discipline for an under 18 runner this season, at 5:57:34, 11 seconds faster than his personal best. He’s only the second runner to go below the six-minute mark in the race this year.
“There was someone who had just a slightly slower time than me at 6:14, during the middle of the race I just decided to sit behind him and kick the last 400, which was what I did. I didn’t really expect the 5:57, but I got it. Just really happy with it,” he said of the race in Regina.
That qualified him to represent Alberta at the Legion Track and Field National Championships from Aug. 9-12 in Cape Breton, N.S.
The Red Deer Titans Track and Field Club long-distance star recognizes the pressure that comes with competing on the national stage after two previous appearances. Only this time around, he’ll be one of the favourites.
“I’m really excited about it, it’s nice to be up on the leaderboard,” said Howse, who was fourth in the 2000m steeplechase at 2018 nationals and third in 2017 in the 15000m steeplechase.
“It’s a pretty big event, a lot of really strong competitors, just nice to represent Alberta and race for them against all the other provinces. (Anxious) is definitely a feeling I get. Makes me a little nervous. I’ve ran enough to know what I have to do in the middle of a race.”
The steeplechase is basically long-distance run with a twist. With 18 separate intervals on the track, runners have to vault over an 84-centimetre obstacle, along with five water jumps. To clear the water, runners must first jump onto the obstacle and over the pit of water, which is 0.7 metres long and 3.6 metres wide.
Howse said for him, he doesn’t worry too much about the obstacles but instead keeping a good pace on the run. Based on his success in the 1500m and 3000m, he tends to find a pretty good pace.
“My jumps aren’t as good as other people’s but my flat speed in between the jumps is what really gives me my times,” he said.
He’s hoping with a good month of training, he’ll gain some national recognition in the discipline. That and bring home some hardware from across the country.