Off to Nationals

Rebecca Johnson, StMU Student Athlete

It has been said that St. Mary’s University punches above its weight and this thought certainly applies to our varsity athletes as well. For the third consecutive year the Cross Country running team is sending athletes to the national to stage to represent themselves and St. Mary’s University.

Rebecca Johnson will leave this week on the way to Toronto to compete in the women’s 6km national championship. This will mark Rebecca’s second appearance at Nationals after attending last year in her first year competing for St. Mary’s. With experience from last year’s Nationals and another year under her belt Rebecca is poised to compete.

“Having the opportunity to run at Nationals last year I learned to start off strong and to focus on not letting my gaps grow between myself and the runners in front of me,” said Johnson. “As well, I am focusing on running the whole race with confidence, enjoying the journey of the race.”

For two years Rebecca and the cross country team have improved every single race. From last season to this season Rebecca has shown an improvement on time with an impressive 33 second improvement in her fastest times. Although 33 seconds may not feel like a great improvement, in the National Championships last year a 33 second improvement would represent a 10 position improvement in the field.

“I definitely changed many aspects of my training routines this year compared to last-I made sure to get optimal sleeps, and that I was eating well enough to fuel myself through the season,” explained Rebecca. “Following my coaches training plans and directions were what really made an impact on my performance. And finally, having a healthy mindset on race days, staying determined, and turning race day jitters into positive energy to run my fastest were what I focused on this year.”

Rebecca had a strong season this year never finishing outside of an ACAC top four finish, she was the anchor to a team that also had a historic first, finishing the year ranked 14th in the country – an accomplishment that no other St. Mary’s Cross Country team has had the honour of being nationally ranked to date.

On Saturday Nov 10th Rebecca will take on the rest of the CCAA competing with the full support of the St. Mary’s community, in a field anticipated to be over 100 athletes Rebecca will show the strength of the lightning! She has already done us proud.