Over the past month, some of my Team Over The Top runners have performed more than admirably in various races throughout the Greater Toronto area. Let me say up front how proud I am of all of their accomplishments, knowing first hand how hard they worked to achieve their goals. Running is an unforgiving sport – it’s you against nature, the clock, other competitors and, mainly, yourself. The battle against the mental component of running is what led me to the slogan for my company – BELIEVE AND ACHIEVE.
My runners are taught this from the 1st session with me…if you don’t believe that you can accomplishment something, you WON’T! Building from that, each of the following is an indication of believing and achieving…along with LOTS of perfect practice and barefoot running drills.
- Drew Serles ran his 1st 1/2 marathon at the Scotia Toronto Waterfront on October 19 in 1:33:49 to place 54th out of 684 in the most difficult age group of 25-29. Drew has even loftier running goals that I know he will achieve
- Miles Emerson (age 14), a Grade 9 student at Father Redmond SS in Toronto, has been training with me since age 10. He is a fantastic barefoot runner who raced in spikes for the 1st time at the all-Toronto Cross Country running finals on October 23. He went into the race ranked 7th, needing a 4th place finish to qualify for the All-Ontario championships on November 2 – no easy task. He finished the 5 kilometre route in 18:11 as well as finishing 4th to qualify for OFSSA. An absolute fantastic result – Miles overtook 4 runners in the final kilometre and destroyed most of the competition on the hills (where he is particularly strong)
- Paige Belo (age 17), a Grade 12 student at Cardinal Leger SS in Brampton, trained with me all last fall and winter to better learn how to run barefoot and injury-free. She was already a fantastic runner but became even better heading into her final high school year. In the ROPSSA finals, Paige needed a 4th place finish against exceptional competition to qualify for OFSSA. Lo and behold, she was sitting in 9th place with 1.5 kilometres to go in the 5 kilometre race when she made her move. Passing one girl at a time, Paige ended up 4th in 20:o2 – off to OFSSA she goes on November 2 – a gutsy, fantastic performance
- Jill Amirault (age 16), a Grade 11 student at Port Credit SS, has been training with me off and on since age 13. During that time, she has placed in the top 4 at ROPSSA, top 50 at OFSSA, completed, a 1/2 AND full marathon along with a number of 5 and 10 kilometre races. In the same race as Paige but with little to no training (for a variety of reasons), Jill finished 82nd in 24:10. Her main objective was to complete the race – she is also training to race the Egg Nog Jog (the toughest 10.8 km race in North America) in early December and to complete her 1st triathlon in late November. This is one driven young lady…
- Patrick Hoogveen (age 15), a Grade 10 student at Lorne Park SS, has been training with me since age 11. He is by far the most naturally gifted runner I have ever trained…and I mean EVER! The biggest challenge is getting Patrick to believe in how talented he is at running. Genetically endowed to run long, fast and without fatigue, he is still trying to figure out if he truly WANTS to run…long, fast and frequently. He completed the Around The Bay (a brutally difficult 30 km race) and the Mississauga Marathon as a 14 year old, showing resilience and raw talent. Having trained with me barefoot and racing in minimalist footwear, he knows how to protect the body. Even though he was on the school cross country running team this fall and had been racing well, he chose not to race in ROPSSA – instead going on a school field trip. His is a classic story of simply NOT wanting to compete…at least NOT now. I still believe he has unlimited potential if he ever decides to tap into it
As you can read, this is a talented group of Team Over The Toppers. I will post an OFSSA update next week and keep you abreast of my team’s results in the Egg Nog Jog plus other competitions. In the meantime, focus on believing and achieving!