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Friday, November 18 2011 - Pre-Canadian XC Interview: Aaron Hendrikx

Leading up to the 2011 Canadian Cross Country Championships, LondonRunner.ca will be profiling several top LRDC athletes by taking a look at their fall season and inquiring about their expectations for the big day on November 26th. Aaron Hendrikx joined the London Runner Distance Club in grade 8. Following 5 years of steady improvement, Aaron has developed into one of the top Junior runners in Canada and will be contending for his first Canadian Junior team on November 26th in Vancouver.

 

LondonRunner.ca: How has your training gone so far this fall?

Aaron Hendrikx: My training this fall has gone awesome. I’ve been smart with my training this fall and I’ve been training with an amazing group of guys always pushing me to run faster. I can’t really complain about much, my training has been very good this fall.

LR: What will be your biggest races leading into Canadian XC? How have they gone so far?

AH: My biggest races leading into Canadian XC has definitely been OUA’s and CIS. Both those races went very well for me. They gave me a whole new experience of racing with the new (to me) 10km distance and gave me a lot of confidence going into Canadian XC.

LR: What has been your best performance (team and individual) at Canadian XC?

AH: My best performance at Canadian XC has been – I think about 40 something low last year. I was not happy with my performance last year so I didn’t go to deep into my results. I think our teams’ best place is around 11th from last year.

LR: What are your expectations for November 26th?

AH: My expectation for this year is to make the NACAC team. I’ve had a great season so far so I think that is a very reasonable goal. I also hope to mix it up up front and maybe come out with a medal! Team wise, the Jr. guys have set a goal of top 5. It’s a heavy goal but I think it’s an achievable one. We’ll all have to give it everything we have. Let’s go LRDC!

LR: Is there anything special you plan on doing during your stay in Vancouver?

AH: I haven’t planned anything specific to do in Vancouver yet, but I for sure hope to do some touring around the city. I haven’t been to Vancouver for a long time so it will be nice to see the city again.

LR: As a 1st year at the University of Guelph, how has your transition into University life affected your training?

AH: My transition into University life has gone pretty well. I came into Guelph with a good base from training with LRDC for so long that when I came here to the University of Guelph the transition wasn’t a huge shock to my system. It took a while to get used to different workouts and having some really fast guys around me always pushing me, but for the most part I was able to play my workouts and training smart. University life was also a huge change in my life style, there’s no more mom and dad to make sure I’m on top of some things. To be honest, this has probably been the biggest challenge.

LR: Having the goal of contending to make the Canadian XC team, how does that affect your mindset heading into Nationals?

AH: I’ve made making the NACAC team a big part of my goal when I get on the start line in Vancouver.  I’m going to go in with part of my mindset knowing what I need to do to get on that team.

LR: As the CIS Rookie of the Year, does that put any additional pressure on you entering Canadian XC?

AH: Sure, getting the ROY might put a little bit of pressure on me to do really well in the race. But I’m not really a person to view achievements as pressure burdens on myself. I know what I’m capable of, and I’ll view getting the ROY as an indicator of that. And, as the London Runner guys would say, ‘it’s a great way to stay in shape’.

Photo right: Aaron competing at the 2011 Downtown 5k

Photo below: Aaron with U. of Guelph coaches, shortly after earning CIS XC Rookie of the Year honours


Thursday, November 17 2011 - Pre-Canadian XC Interview: Samantha McGuinness

Leading up to the 2011 Canadian Cross Country Championships, LondonRunner.ca will be profiling several top LRDC athletes by taking a look at their fall season and inquiring about their expectations for the big day on November 26th. Samantha McGuinness is a high school athlete originally from Stratford who competed at the 2010 Canadian Youth Track & Field Championships and was the top LRDC Junior girl at 2010 Canadian XC.

 

LondonRunner.ca: When did you join London Runner and what's it been like 'growing up' with the club?

Samantha McGuinness: I joined in 2008. I've met many new people since then and have become great friends with some of them. It's nice to see people from the club at school meets, and to have that extra encouragement during races. It's also good to have people to do warm-up and cool downs together. Since I joined, I’ve come a long way. I have improved so much, it makes me wonder how I would have done in all of these xc and track races if I wasn't in the club. Being in London Runner, I’ve always had people to push me when training, which I didn't have before.

LR: What has been your favourite road race to compete in?

SM: My favourite road race to compete in is the Stratford Festival City road race because I like to compete in a race where I know a lot of people and I like the 10k race distance. Also, there’s always people cheering me on throughout the whole course.

LR: What is your favourite track distance?

SM: My favourite track distance is the 3000m. The longer the better! It gives me enough time to work my way up. I don't have a good enough kick during the race to do shorter distances.

LR: How has your training gone so far this fall?

SM: I was disappointed in my performances in late spring and summer, so I made some adjustments to my training and pushed myself harder at workouts. Since then I have felt myself improving and doing better in races.

LR: What will be your biggest races leading into Canadian XC? How have they gone so far?

SM: My two biggest races have been WOSSAA and Ontario Championships. I felt I raced a really good race at WOSSAA, although I was disappointed to be one off from going to OFSAA. I feel like I could have been top 25 in my first year of senior. I was less satisfied with my performance at Ontario championships. I didn't feel my best, and was unable to compete like I wanted to.

LR: What has been your best performance at Canadian XC?

SM: I've only been in Canadian XC once. As an individual, I placed 87th, and 14th as a team.

LR: What are your expectations for November 26th?

SM: I want my time to be under 19 minutes and I'd like to place in the top 50.

LR: Is there anything special you plan on doing during your stay in Vancouver?

SM: I hope to see some of my cousins from Washington State, they may be able to come up to watch the races. I'd also like to do some sightseeing.

LR: You raced 2010 Canadian XC to ‘get experience’ for this year, but ended up the as the first from a tightly-paced LRDC Junior team finish; how do you feel that experience will help you mentally at the meet this year?

SM: It gave me more confidence in my abilities by finishing first of the junior girls last year and I believe my training will pay off in helping me reach my personal goals this year. Madeline, Emily and I are a tight group, and although we don't have a team, we really support each other.


Tuesday, November 15 2011 - Pre-Canadian XC Interview: Leslie Sexton

 

Leading up to the 2011 Canadian Cross Country Championships, LondonRunner.ca will be profiling several top LRDC athletes by taking a look at their fall season and inquiring about their expectations for the big day on November 26th. Leslie Sexton is the 2011 Canadian 5,000m Champion, along with other victories including the Scotiabank Half-Marathon. She represented Canada at the 2008 World University (FISU) Cross Country Championships.


LondonRunner.ca: How has your training gone so far this fall?

Leslie Sexton: Since August I have had my best and most consistent block of training ever. Leading up to the Toronto Waterfront Half Marathon on October 16th, I had several weeks totalling 175 km or more and I had some good long-distance focused workouts such as threshold workouts and long steady runs. Since the half marathon, I have worked on speed and sharpening and I have done more cross country specific workouts. My half marathon focus leading into Toronto has improved my strength over the longer distances, so I feel fit and confident as I head into my taper.

LR: What will be your biggest races leading into Canadian XC? How have they gone so far?

LS: My focus for most of my fall buildup was the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Half Marathon on October 16th. I went into the Toronto half with the goal of running 1:16:30 and I was happy to have run very close to that (1:16:32) on a windy day. I have run a few half marathons before, but this was the first time I had trained specifically for it. Hitting my goal after putting in months of hard work throughout the fall felt great. Another important race for me was the Athletics Ontario Cross Country Championships on November 13th, where I placed second in the senior women’s race. I felt that this was one of my best cross country races in the past few years. That race gave me confidence, knowing that I could really roll on cross country terrain. I had to battle a fierce wind in that race, too, so if it’s really windy on race day in Vancouver I should be extra-prepared.

LR: What has been your best performance at Canadian XC?

LS: I was 17th last year at Canadian XC, which was my best (and only) performance as a senior. Prior to last year, I hadn’t run Canadian XC since high school. My best placing as a junior was 55th in 2003. As for a team performance, I have yet to run on a senior women’s team. Hopefully we can put a team together for next year.

LR: What are your expectations for November 26th?

LS: Pain and suffering. Seriously though, I think I am ready to have a great race at Canadian XC. I know that I am in the best shape of my life. I’m anxious to race on fresh legs and get in the mix with Canada’s top distance women. I plan on continuing to do what I’ve done all year at championships and big races: run smart, finish strong, and take some scalps.

LR: Is there anything special you plan on doing during your stay in Vancouver?

LS: Well, I plan on being pretty lazy for the first two days. On the day before my race in Toronto, Kate Vaughan kept laughing at me because I would always insist on taking the elevator instead of walking up a flight or two of stairs. Even though I was only racing the half, I wanted to rest like a marathoner. In Vancouver, I plan on jogging the course as a shakeout run, but other than that I’m going to be boring and lazy. However, I will be staying in Vancouver for a few days after the race, so I will have a chance to see some of the city and have some fun.

LR: Having the goal of contending to make the Canadian XC team, how does that affect your mindset heading into Nationals?

LS: To be honest, my goals and mindset heading into Canadian XC would be the same. I will need to be in the top eight to be eligible for selection to the Canadian XC team competing in the NACAC cross country championships. This might provide some extra motivation to finish within the top eight, but regardless I want to finish as high up as I can amongst the top cross country runners in Canada.

LR: Do you think the 7k distance in Vancouver will seem short, given your recent focus the Half-Marathon?

LS: It will feel short, but I’m sure the race will be just as tough. After racing the half in Toronto, it took some time for me to get used to running between 5k and 10k pace. In the first week or two I was definitely still in distance donkey-mode, so I felt like I was sprinting in cross country workouts. Since then I’ve become a bit more comfortable at that pace. I definitely prefer the longer distances, but I still love the challenge that cross country offers.

 

 


Monday, November 14 2011 - LRDC Diversity Results in 5th Overall at Ontario XC

A very successful outing by the London Runner Distance Club in Guelph yesterday saw the crew tie for 5th place in the overall team competition at the Ontario Cross Country Championships. The club had 27 athletes spread between 8 different race categories and far exceeded their goal of achieving a top-10 overall finish.

The club showed its strength in diversity, with points scored by elementary school, high school, university, and post-collegiate aged athletes. 13-year-old Jessie Fleming led the way, literally, winning the very first race of the day - the Bantam Girls 2000m. Top high school girls from the group led the Junior Girls team to a 4th place finish, with Madeline Yungblut placing 4th as an individual, while their teammates on the Junior Boys side claimed the Bronze medal with Tristan Fleming and Shane Roberts (photo below) leading the way. More medals were awarded from the Senior races, where Leslie Sexton ran to the Silver medal and the Brent Smith-led Men also took the Silver.

The group also had 4 athletes competing in the Ontario Masters 5k Championships, held in conjunction with the meet. Scott Finch, Tim Hain, Annette Barry, and Paul Roberts represented the club well and helped further display the huge range of ages involved with London Runner.

While some of the group will enjoy a post-season break, the group will be sending 16 athletes to Vancouver, BC to compete in the Canadian Cross Country Championships on Saturday, November 26th.


Friday, November 11 2011 - Pre-Canadian XC Interview: Kyle O'Neill

Leading up to the 2011 Canadian Cross Country Championships, LondonRunner.ca will be profiling several top LRDC athletes by taking a look at their fall season and inquiring about their expectations for the big day on November 26th. Kyle O'Neill is an All-Canadian Cross Country and Track runner whose Senior level accomplishments include placing top-5 at the Canadian Track & Field Championships in the 3,000m Steeplechase and 5,000m. Most recently, Kyle was the 2011 Ontario 5,000m Champion.

LondonRunner.ca: How has your training gone so far this fall?

Kyle O'Neill: My training has gone pretty well. I'm doing two workouts plus a race on a consistent basis and trying to incorporate a rest day each week. I'm trying to focus on some little things such as strides, stretching, and getting a familiar sleep pattern.

LR: What will be your biggest races leading into Canadian XC? How have they gone so far?

KO: For XC, I'll be focusing on the OUA and CIS Championships prior to Nationals in BC. OUA's went alright as I mixed it up with the leaders until losing ground after the 7k mark of a 10k race. I kept my rhythm, but the leaders were more relaxed at 3:10/k and sped up substantially late in the race.

LR: What has been your best performance at Canadian XC?

KO: As a member of LRDC, I placed in the low 20s in my first senior XC Championship 2 years ago, in 2009. As a team we got the bronze, so that showed that the club was doing well at that point. However we have lost 2 scorers from that team, but I'm confident we have well trained athletes to fill those holes this year. Last year I did not race - although I did watch the race in Guelph, which makes me more eager to see how I match up against the best in the country.

LR: What are your expectations for November 26th?

KO: I'll have to see how I race at the CIS championships this weekend, so that I can better assess where I want to place at (Canadian XC). I feel a lot better now than I did in early races this XC season. At this point, I would say my pre-season goal of top 20 is attainable.

LR: Is there anything special you plan on doing during your stay in Vancouver.

KO: It will be special for me to spend time with people from the club and other runners on the weekend of Canadian XC. I'll try to see some tourist attractions in the beautiful province. I know the Grey Cup is there that weekend as well so the city will be busy.

LR: As someone who handles adverse race conditions extremely well, most recently a superb 5,000m in considerable heat at the Ontario Track & Field Championships, what conditions would you like to see in Vancouver on November 26th?

KO: I hope it isn't too cold, but whatever the conditions, I'll be prepared. I try to keep a mentality that everyone is facing the same conditions so that I don't over-analyze adverse conditions, which can consequently affect performance.


Thursday, November 10 2011 - Pre-Canadian XC Interview: Paul Roberts

Leading up to the 2011 Canadian Cross Country Championships, LondonRunner.ca will be profiling several top LRDC athletes by taking a look at their fall season and inquiring about their expectations for the big day on November 26th. Paul Roberts is the owner of Runners' Choice and Race Director for the London Honda road race series. He coaches with the London Runner Distance Club, with a focus on the Steeplechase event, and a coordinator for the London Runner Athlete Assistance Program.

 

LondonRunner.ca: How has your training gone so far this fall?

Paul Roberts: Not too bad. I had a slow start to the year as I injured myself late last cross country season and I was hobbled all winter. Therefore my base was poor so it took me all spring and summer to get some fitness back. I have been making slow but steady progress towards the Canadians. I’m not in quite the fitness I was last fall but I’m doing OK.

LR: What will be your biggest races leading into Canadian XC? How have they gone so far?

PR: Every race I have planned for this fall really builds onto the next one. Each one gets me closer to my fitness goal.  I have only raced 3 times so far this fall and my last one was in Hamilton on November 5th. I ran a 5K in there in 19:20 which was better than my A goal of 19:35. I was very pleased with that effort and feel I’m rounding into shape.  However my biggest will be the (Ontario) masters 5K x-c race two weeks before the Nationals.

LR: What has been your best performance at Canadian XC?

PR: As an open or senior competitor my best was 19th over-all and fifth counter on the winning senior men’s team in 1985. It was in St John’s NFLD and it was a very snowy and cold day. As a master runner, I have been 2nd over-all twice. However that was pre- health issues and I will never approach that kind of running again. 

LR: What are your expectations for November 26th?

PR: I want have a good run and feel like I gave it my all in the race. I have a bone to pick with this course. Back in 1982 I was named to the Ontario team for the Canadian cross country’s after having a breakthrough performance at the OTFA’s. I was 4th and beat a few Olympians from 1980 in the event.  The Canadian’s were on the same course we will be running on in Jericho beach in Vancouver this year. I had 6 full weeks to train between the OTFA’s and CTFA’s that year. Just enough time to completely over train and fry myself and that is what I did. I wasn’t last in the race but darn near it and I felt like I was running in sand the whole way. I really let my team down and felt humiliated after the event.  I just want to run and feel like I actually raced the course this year. My little revenge!

Also, two years ago I was 15th in the 50 year old age category and ran the course in just around 4:03 per kilometre. I know it’s a different course and different competition but I would like to run about the same as that this year. Even though I’m two years older than last time, which is like 10 years in teenage years. 

LR:  Is there anything special you plan on doing during your stay in Vancouver.

PR: Absolutely. First off, I will be staying with friends, so it will be nice to spend time with them. My friends Peter and Karen Butler own a store in Vancouver and through running and business we have become good friends over the years. Just in case anyone saw the Toronto Waterfront Marathon CBC show, Peter was the person greeting both Reid and Eric at the finish line. Peter still holds the second fastest Canadian marathon in history with a high 2:10, as Reid missed it by a few seconds in Toronto.

I also have a few other friends who have stores in Vancouver, so I’m heading out a day early to see them and visit their stores. Plus, my long time friend Joanna Harper is driving up from Portland Oregon to run and visit with me for the weekend. It should be great to see everyone.Last but not least, if Western makes it to the Vanier Cup (CIS Football championship game) I’m tentatively planning on going to the game Friday night. Oh yah, there is a race in Vancouver that weekend too?

 LR: How many Canadian XC Championships have you competed in?

PR: Wow, let me get my fingers and toes out and count. Sudbury once, Halifax three or four times, Vancouver twice, Montreal twice, St John’s, Victoria a couple times, Guelph and Toronto both twice as a master. Well that is at least 16 times there and there may be a few I missed. Let’s say between 16 and 20 times I think.

LR: What keeps you motivated to continue training and racing as a Master?

PR: I strive to be the best that I can be today! I don’t measure myself by last month, last year or the last few decades. I still get a thrill from it and it’s important to me. It’s in my blood and I know I would miss it if I didn’t do it. I would look back and say “I wonder if I could” but I know I still can. I know I’m not the fastest masters or even the fastest 50 year old by far, but I’m still moving forward and happy to still be doing it!


Monday, November 7 2011 - Pre-Canadian XC Interview: Matt Suda

Leading up to the 2011 Canadian Cross Country Championships, LondonRunner.ca will be profiling several top LRDC athletes by taking a look at their fall season and inquiring about their expectations for the big day on November 26th. Matt Suda is a teacher with the Thames Valley District School Board who competes in track, cross country, and road races. He is the lead instructor for the LARA Kids Running Clinics, where he seeks to share his love of the sport with young runners.

 

LondonRunner.ca: How has your training gone so far this fall?

Matt Suda: My training this fall has been solid.  My mileage has been higher and more consistent than ever.  A lot of my workouts in the September were geared towards the half marathon so I've got a great base going into November. 

LR: What will be your biggest races leading into Canadian XC? How have they gone so far?

Suda: My biggest race of the fall so far has been the Scotiabank half marathon.  It was a windy day but I was able to negative split and run a big PB (1:11:14).  That was my main focus for the first part of the season and now I'm shifting my focus to 10km XC.  The Ontario Cross Country Championships in Guelph will be my biggest cross race leading into the Canadian championship.

LR: What has been your best performance at Canadian XC?

Suda: The best team performance I've been a part of at the championship was the 2009 London Runner squad that won the bronze medal.  My best placing was 65th last year.  This will be just my third time running the Senior race and I'm sure I'll see a big improvement this year.

LR: What are your expectations for November 26th?

Suda: I'm expecting a great result in Vancouver.  I have kept my mileage pretty high throughout the fall and I will finally be tapering off for a couple weeks leading into the championship.  I think the extra rest going in will allow me to take advantage of my fitness.  As we have only 4 senior men, I want to make sure I'm on the ball so we can put up a great team result.

LR: Is there anything special you plan on doing during your stay in Vancouver?

Suda: I'm looking forward to hanging out in Vancouver for a few days.  It's been a while since I've been to the west coast.  As with any trip I go on, I'll have to check out a few local record shops!

LR: A 3-part question - you've persevered through several rough stretches of training and racing the past few years, before your 1:11 Half; first, what has kept you motivated?

Suda: I love the sport and I've been training pretty consistently for several years.  There's never really been a time where I've been unfit but my race results have not always lined up with my training.  Though I haven't always achieved my goals each season, I'm motivated to see how good I can be as a competitive runner.  I know I've put in lots of training and that it will pay off at some point.

LR: What are some changes you've made, to both training and lifestyle, to balance work with increasing amounts of training?

Suda: I think a major reason I've had success this fall is due to the fact that I'm recovering better.  In the past I feel I've burned out a few times because I haven't allowed enough recovery time between hard efforts.  I've tried hard this fall to get my body into a routine of running and working.  As a supply teacher, I'm not always certain what my schedule will look like on a given day so I need to be prepared to go at a moment's notice.  I've also kept a closer eye on my easy run pace which I feel has gotten a bit out of control in the past.   I've found I'm usually pretty tired at the end of the day so it doesn't take much discipline to go to bed early and let the training sink in.

LR: What was your initial reaction, seeing the clock in the final meters at the Scotiabank Half?

Suda: I knew I was having a great race in Toronto so seeing the time wasn't a shock but I was pumped to see the clock as I approached the finish.  It was my first road race in a big city and I'll never forget the atmosphere in that last 500m.


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Tuesday, September 2 2014 - 4th Annual LRDC Cross Country Runathon
Thursday, August 14 2014 - Let the Fall Season Begin!
Tuesday, June 3 2014 - London Runner Distance Club seeks new members
Monday, May 12 2014 - Ontario 10,000m Championships Preview
Sunday, May 4 2014 - RCLDS Kicks Off Tonight
 

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