One step at a time
Falmouth runner breaks 12-year record at district track and field competition
Meredith Chambers of King’sEdgehill School (KES) had a terrific start to the regional track and field championships on May 27.
The 16- year- old broke a 12-year-old record for the intermediate 1,500-metre run with her time of 4:55:97, securing a booth at the provincial competition in Stellarton in June.
The Falmouth resident began running in elementary school, but says she began taking the sport seriously last fall after recovering from a joint injury.
Chambers enjoys cross-country running in the fall and runs in three track events: the 800-, 1,500and 3,000-metres. At the district competition, she captured medals in all three races, improving on her performance last year, when she found herself second in her trio of specialties.
She’s never been a sprinter and she suspects that has something to do with her muscles. Instead, she puts her brain to work to help win her races. Chambers says she appreciates a math-based knowledge of how her pace matches up with where she should be in a race.
Training with three or four other KES girls, including PattiAnne Tracey and Katherine Traves, and some of the boys, Chambers finds the friendly competition encourages her.
Coach Phillip Hadley says, “She’s fortunate to have a good squad of girls. That’s a good situation.”
He says Chambers has both determination and discipline - both key qualities to help her succeed at track competitions.
“That’s what it takes,” Hadley said. “I think it also helps to be a multi-sport athlete.”
Passion for sports
Chambers was a member of the Windsor Bluefins Swim Team, taking part in 100-metre breaststroke and the 50-metre and 200metre freestyle events in 2014, but she thinks she’ll always be a runner.
“I hope so,” she says. “I can see myself running half marathons. That’s my future plan.”
Although the Martock ski hill is an attraction for her and Chambers enjoys snowboarding and border cross, running is where her real passion is. Often, she will come from the hill and run in the dark. She says simply, “I like running better.”
Last summer, Chambers trained with KES coach Guy Payne and joined Valley Athletics, where she was coached by the veteran runner Ralph Williams at Raymond Field in Wolfville.
Chambers said she appreciated his depth of experience, adding, “He’s great.”
Having had an injury that appears to have been a fluke, Chambers says she is careful to do her drills and to warm up and cool down.
“I’m cautious,” she says. “But I think I was fortunate, I don’t think I was prone to injury.”
Last year, she was one of the athletes of the year at KES. She demonstrated exactly why last fall, when Chambers bettered her cross-country status from 64th position to 11th. Her school coaches said physically, technically and mentally, her improvement was outstanding.
Chambers makes an effort to ensure she’s well-rounded, with several non-sports-related extra-curricular activities, including contributing to the soup kitchen at Harvest House in downtown Windsor, where she is part of a lunch hour team that pitches in to serve meals and wash dishes.
Some of her peers were surprised at the notion of homeless people living in Windsor, Chambers says, but all were happy to help.
Her older brother, Dustin, who attends Dalhousie University, began running in junior high and Chambers’ mother, Wendy, says her daughter got to tag along to track events.
“He still runs,” Chambers adds. Her father, Doug, ran while he was in school and also encourages her in her chosen sport.
But on May 27, Chambers did not linger at Raymond Field after her friends competed in the senior 1,500 m race – not with the KES Cadet Ball scheduled for the same evening.
First place Meredith Chambers of Kings-Edgehill School stands on the podium at Raymond Field with Hannah Fuller, left, of Horton and Nicole Skinner of Parkview.
Meredith Chambers takes some time to chat with her friend and fellow runner, Katherine Traves. Traves came third in the senior girls 1,500 metre run.
Meredith Chambers’ mom, Wendy, was her biggest fan at the regional track and field meet at Acadia University on May 27.