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