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.