Two cross country runners from Sir Alexander Mackenzie Secondary School (SAMS) emerged with admirable results at the secondary school provincials in Vancouver on Saturday, Nov. 6.
Grade 12 student Finn Carlson placed 54th out of 250 runners, completing the five kilometre course at Jericho Beach in 18 minutes and 32 seconds.
“That was through hills and so much mud that day,” Finn recalled. “It was crazy. We were the last race to run. One part of the course was near a little duck pond that flooded over and we had to run through these puddles.”
Used to running in the rain in Bella Coola, he said that is always ‘part of the fun.’
Grade 8 student Morgan Boileau placed 109th in the Grade 8 to 10 category and 23rd in the Grade 8 category, running 4.6 kilometres in 21 minutes and two seconds.
She has been running since about the age of seven and started competing when she was 10.
Coach Alex Boileau, who also happens to be her dad, said Morgan didn’t really walk when she was a baby.
“She just ran,” he added.
Morgan said whenever she runs a race she always wants to get better.
“I am pretty proud of my effort, I have to say. I think I did a pretty good job.”
Boileau said this was the first year the school had a cross country running program.
“This is about two athletes who have always been runners but they basically put Bella Coola on the map for cross country running and Sir Alexander Mackenzie by winning medals at zones in Quesnel and then qualifying for the first-time-ever for provincials for our school.”
At zones Finn came in second and Morgan came in first for her age group and seventh overall in the junior category.
Since returning from the provincials, Finn has been running to school from home, a distance of about eight kilometres.
His neighbour works at the school so she brings his stuff to school for him, he said.
“Finn is very self-motivated,” Boileau said.
“He does a lot of his own workouts and researches them as well.”
Boileau said he wanted to thank chaperone Kerry Boileau and SAMS staff members Meghan Lewick and Kirsten Schieck with their help at running practices, School District 49, board of directors and Scott Trueman School District 28 for organizing zones, NCD xc running rep Eric Wolf and to the Vancouver School Board (Sea to Sky) for hosting provincials at Jericho Beach.
“Finally, all of the organizations and community for their support and to Finn and Morgan for giving it their best effort in both races,” he added.