One hundred seventeen athletes, from tykes to masters, competed in the NWT Cross Country Running Championship in Fort Smith last weekend.
Friday, Oct. 12 was a perfect day for racing with sunny skies and no wind, and the Fort Smith Ski Club trails provided an ideal venue.
“I love it – the course, the challenge, the distance, the loops, the grooming – it is a great setting for this event,” Joe LeBlanc, the president of the NWT Track and Field Association, told The Journal enthusiastically.
The Championship almost didn’t take place. It was originally scheduled for Fort Providence but was cancelled at the last moment. A group of Fort Smith volunteers then took on the challenge.
Laura Aubrey, a coach from JBT Elementary School in Fort Smith, said 50 of their youth had been training for weeks and would have been disappointed not to have an opportunity to race.
“This was the first time Fort Smith has hosted this Championship. It was all new to us,” observed event coordinator Patti-Kay Hamilton. We did some things well and in some areas made mistakes, and learned from them.”
Following their run, athletes from Yellowknife shook the hands of the timers to thank them for a great race.
“We are thankful that our athletes had an event to race at and the team from Sir John Franklin High School is incredibly grateful to you and all of the volunteers who made this trip one to remember,” said Shannon Ferreira, coach of the team from Yellowknife.
One notable outcome of the event was the performance of Desiree Brown from the Sir John team. A natural runner, performed well enough to earn the right to represent the NWT at the cross country running nationals in Vancouver, Nov 24.