Galt gold medalist loves to run
Alexander Galt High School was well represented at the RSEQ Provincial school cross-country championship that took place in Amos, Quebec, on October 24th and 25th. The annual competition gathered together more than five hundred of the province’s
top student athletes. Not only did three of Galt’s student athletes qualify for the event, sisters Amelia and Justine Provencher and Perry Mackinnon, one of them came home with the gold medal for the six kilometer run.
“I knew most of the other competitors so I wasn’t sure what to expect; there are always dark horses. But I knew I was prepared and that I would ‘peak’ for my race. In a month training cycle, your performance goes up and down,” explained gold medalist Perry Mackinnon, of Barnston West, in an interview with the Stanstead Journal. Under running coach Jean-Pierre Lemelin and school coach Mr. Gauthier, Perry certainly was prepared for his ‘golden’ moment, training six or seven days a week, running farther than sixty kilometres a week, and cross-training too! The disciplined training paid off with a finishing time of 21 minutes and 30 seconds, a full 23 seconds ahead of the silver medalist.
“Right from the start I decided to go to the front like I normally do, and I thought the pace seemed a little slow. So I took the lead and thought I would try to start putting some distance between myself and the other racers after the first turn, but my lead just kept getting bigger even before the turn,” said Perry who started running seriously a little more than a year ago, having to give up competitive school hockey so he could really excel. “I was in the provincial final last year and I came seventh. It was after that when my coach and I decided to just concentrate on the running. Last year I played hockey and it slowed down my running – it’s not as much of an endurance sport as running and the movements are different, you’re not using the same muscles,” he said, continuing: “When I started running again in the spring, I saw that I had lost something. I clued in to the fact that I had to choose between hockey and running so I thought about it all summer, even playing some hockey in the summer. I always managed to do well at running since I was at elementary school. I liked it and it came naturally to me, and I was always recognized as a fast kid. So I thought I’d give it a serious try.”
Deciding to stop playing hockey wasn’t an easy decision for the speedster, but also one that he doesn’t regret. “I really like team sports but the beauty of running is that you can always get faster and better; your performance doesn’t depend on others. It’s also nice that you can train anywhere and whenever it fits into your schedule. I’ll be going on an exchange trip to Mexico in January for two months; that will be a good place to train with its high altitudes.”
Perry also finds that running fits in well with his schoolwork. “Going for a run is a nice way to relax after a day at school. I can run and then go and do my homework as opposed to other sports where you have to stick to a rigid schedule. And when we’re running, it’s a natural movement for the body, so you can just think of other things while you’re doing it. Sometimes I come up with good ideas while I’m running, like choosing a good topic for a school project,” said Perry.
This young athlete has set his sights even higher after winning the provincial championship. “I hope next year to qualify for the national track meet in cross country and I’ll be training in track and field all winter. I consider myself lucky that I can walk and run, not everyone can. And since I’m good at running, I’d like to pursue it and see how far it goes. Running is a lot more than just putting one foot in front of the other.”
Perry Mackinnon was happy to be breaking the ribbon after the six kilometer run at the RSEQ provincial championship.
Galt student Perry Mackinnon after receiving his gold medal on October 25th, in Amos.