The Trojan men dominated the podium taking first, second and third place in the men’s 8 km cross-country race, the season’s second Grand Prix event, on Sept. 16th, at Confederation Park.
Newcomer, Matthew Travailing, a first-year student studying geometrics engineering technology, took first place with a time of 26 minutes and 52 seconds.
“They say running never gets easier, you just get faster,” said Travailing.
Travailing, in fact, is not a newcomer to the podium. Earlier this year he won the Canadian Mountain Running Championships in Canmore.
“We have a really good team and really good guys to train with, so I think we’re going to have a good season,” said Travailing.
Travailing has been running ever since he got cut from his grade 9 soccer team, at which point he decided instead to try out for the cross-country team.
Travailing is proud to be part of the Trojans’ cross-country team this year.
“They have a good reputation as far as running, and a good history in the Canadian college scene,” said Travailing.
Jacques Saayman, a second-year student studying business administration and a gold winner from last year’s nationals, placed second with a time of 28 minutes and 20 seconds.
“It’s still base season,” said Saayman.
“Right now we’re trying to get as much mileage in as we can. Later in the season we will shorten up the mileage and pick up the speed.”
Over the summer, Saayman was averaging over 100 km per week in Fort McMurray while training for the upcoming season.
Co-head coach of the cross-country team, Bre MacEachern, has high hopes for this season.
“[The team has] gotten better and much more in-depth over the years,” said MacEachern, who’s in her fifth year of coaching the cross-country team.
Cross-country running is an individual and team sport; runners are judged on their individual times and the teams placing in the race.
“It is unlike other styles of running because you’re doing what you need to do for the team,” said MacEachern.
“It’s not like road racing.”
Cross-country running can be very physically demanding on athletes, especially at the beginning of the season when the training distances are longer.
“Sometimes it’s hard to tell whether you have an injury or not because you’re pushing yourself so far,” said Saayman.
Travailing makes sure he’s running lots to build-up strength, lifting weights and building core strength on the side, eating properly, getting enough sleep and drinking lots of water.
They say running never gets easier, you just get faster. – Matthew Travailing
“Recovery comes with getting stronger,” said Travailing.
“Your legs are always hurting. It’s very physically demanding, but it’s fun,” said Saayman.
Along with the exercise, being on the cross-country team provides a routine and structure that helps these students with their class work.
“I’m very focused in class. I know I need to get my schoolwork done in order to focus on the upcoming race on the weekend,” said Saayman. “It helps me to prioritize a little more.”
“I have to run around school work…I’ve never been this organized in my entire life,” said Travailing.
The men’s team is well on course to reach its goal of placing in the top three in nationals in November. Over the last couple of years, nearly every single person has achieved a personal best at the championships.
“If we could do that again that would be really awesome,” said MacEachern.