READY TO RUN

Alex Cyr gets chance to com­pete in Win­nipeg tonight

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - THE ISLAND - Ja­son Mal­loy

Team P.E.I.’s Alex Cyr gets chance to com­pete tonight in Canada Sum­mer Games.

Alex Cyr has been in Win­nipeg for eight days. Tonight, he gets to pull on the Prince Ed­ward Is­land sin­glet and com­pete at the Canada Games.

The Abram-Vil­lage na­tive, who turns 22 on Aug. 13, will run the 5,000 me­tre at 8:25 p.m. At­lantic.

“To be there with the P.E.I. colours is go­ing to make me proud be­cause I will be there know­ing that I am as good as any­body on that line,’’ Cyr said Wed­nes­day af­ter­noon.

While the rest of Team P.E.I.’s Week 1 ath­letes have been com­pet­ing, Cyr has been wait­ing for his op­por­tu­nity.

In fact, he’s been wait­ing for more than five years for this chance.

Cyr at­tended the 2013 Canada Games in Sher­brooke, Que. The dis­tance events were at the end of the week and it was thought a nag­ging in­jury might be healed by race day.

It wasn’t and Cyr didn’t get to run. He was later di­ag­nosed with hav­ing a stress frac­ture in his left fibula, which required three months of rest to heal.

“This time is very dif­fer­ent. The last time, I got all of the other stuff (like trad­ing pins) out of the way,’’ he said. “This time, I’ve come here to race.”

Cyr is con­fi­dent in his abil­ity, but also re­al­is­tic.

“The goal is to win a medal, for sure. That’s been the goal for­ever,’’ he said.

“To win a medal would be an over­achieve­ment for me for sure. My best time doesn’t rank me in the top three, but it’s all about what hap­pens on the (race) day. I’m go­ing to give it my all and hope­fully fin­ish on the podium. If that’s not the case, I hope I can at least run a per­sonal best.”

Cyr grew up play­ing hockey in West Prince. He was a small

cen­tre who ended up with the Char­lot­te­town ma­jor mid­get Is­landers, but re­al­ized his strength might be bet­ter suited in an­other sport.

“By the end, I was train­ing for hockey and was still more suc­cess­ful in run­ning. You kind of follow what you’re good at,’’ he said.

Cyr ran his first cross-coun­try

meet in Grade 4 with­out train­ing. He’d con­tinue run­ning them, but con­cen­trated on other sports un­til about Grade 10. He would go for a three­k­ilo­me­tre run the day be­fore the race just to en­sure he was ready.

He has been a main­stay on Is­land track and field teams for years. Af­ter grad­u­at­ing from high school, Cyr left the prov­ince to at­tend St. F.X. Univer­sity in Antigo­nish, N.S., where he was part of the X-Men track and cross-coun­try teams.

He fin­ished sec­ond and third in the 1,500 me­tre at the At­lantic Univer­sity Sport (AUS) cham­pi­onships in 2016 and 2015, re­spec­tively, and this year broke through to win the ti­tle. It gave him the op­por­tu­nity to race at the U Sports na­tional cham­pi­onship.

Cyr has also at­tended two na­tional cross-coun­try meets.

“I grew up in the (P.E.I.) school sys­tem, ran well there, got to go to the Games, didn’t per­form, didn’t race,’’ Cyr said. “I’ve had great years at St. F.X. I won an AUS cham­pi­onship ti­tle, I was on win­ning teams for cross coun­try, but I still feel like I would like to be able to rep­re­sent my prov­ince in that way as well.

“That’s kind of the op­por­tu­nity of this week­end.”

Cyr worked out Friday, Mon­day and Wed­nes­day for tonight’s race. He also had two lit­tle runs on the track to fa­mil­iar­ize him­self with the venue and ran once on a trail near the Univer­sity of Manitoba cam­pus.

“I haven’t been do­ing much, lay­ing low. I watched a cou­ple sports, but a lot of it is play­ing crib with the boys,” Cyr said. “Most of the hard phys­i­cal work is done, so now it’s a mat­ter of find­ing the dis­ci­pline to just kind of set back and know and be con­fi­dent that my body is ready to do what it’s sup­pose to do.”

“I’m go­ing to give it my all and hope­fully fin­ish on the podium. If that’s not the case, I hope I can at least run a per­sonal best.” Alex Cyr

JA­SON MAL­LOY/THE GUARDIAN

Alex Cyr will run the 5,000 me­tre tonight at the Canada Games in Win­nipeg.

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