Used to running far, her sights are set high

Triple OFSAA medallist looking at heading to nationals in Vancouver

FRANCIS CRESCIA/TOWN CRIER A LONG WAY TO GO: Humberside’s Mackenzie Lemieux won silver at last year’s OFSAA cross-country championships and 1,500-metre race at OFSAA track, where she also won gold in the 3,000-metre race.

Mackenzie Lemieux will give you the long distance runaround.

Not that the Humberside grade 10 student is the protagonist in an espionage thriller, but she’s the school’s top sophomore when it comes to running the track and country.

Last year, she finished number one throughout the citys and regionals in cross-country in the fall as well as the 1500-metre and 3000-metre in the spring. When it came to OFSAA, she won silvers in cross-country and 1500 (4:40.94) and gold in 3000 (9:55.65).

“I like running longer than shorter because I feel like I have more time to think about it,” she said, adding she wasn’t always speedy.

Before her days as a Husky, she attended Runnymede Public School, and short distances weren’t so nice for her.

“In grade 6 I did really bad in track and field so the summer before grade 7 I started training a lot,” she said. “I think I came in fourth in citys.”

After working hard on her own, she joined the Toronto Olympic Club at the Swansea Town Hall. Coach Gary Westgate has worked her into the top three juniors in the province.

The goal is to go out to British Columbia for the big meet.

“I know I will probably go to Nationals this year in Vancouver and then it will be really cool to compete at worlds,” she said. “I don’t know if it will be this summer but probably world track and field at one point.”

While she waits, she’ll be listening with great interest in her biology and physical fitness classes.

“I like science,” she said.

Kinesiology has helped her understand how the body works, which gives her an edge when she does endurance training.

“We do a lot of intervals with short recovery then we’ll do an 800 for two minutes and another then you’ll end,” she said. “You’re not giving your heart enough time to slow down, so your heart will slow down faster the next time.”

Her heart was pumping after running the Acure 5-kilometre, Aug. 14. She finished with a final time of 17:39.2, placing ninth overall and first in women. The next member of her gender was over a minute behind.

“That was really awesome because I even got to break the banner,” she said.

Right now, the roadwork is on hiatus as she focuses on cross-country. But that doesn’t mean every race is special to her, as the best moment for her is after it’s over.

“I always write out on my bib how my race went — everything about it,” she said with a laugh.

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