For a cross-country runner, there might be no better feeling in the world than starting off a brand new season with a really fast time.
Based on several of the smiling faces spotted at the 2023 Ramsey Tour last Sunday at Laurentian University, there was many a happy (and quick) runner in the crowd.
"I was excited to see what could happen today," said Haileybury native and 5th year L.U. student-athlete Cameron Date, finishing behind only Eric Leishman (16:02), Brodie Pennie (16:07) and Ethan Aarts (Nipissing - 16:38) with a time of 16:40.
"I didn't really know where I was at, hadn't really run a solid race in a couple of years. My number one goal was to run a PB, which I did - which was nice."
A graduate of the Sports Administration program at Laurentian, Date is taking some extra courses in now targetting his CPA (Chartered Professional Accountant) designation - and taking advantage of the extra year of schooling to continue his progress in a sport in which he was a little late to the party.
"I was pretty mediocre in high-school, I would say," he suggested with a smile. "I was middle of the pack and alright for my region - but I really didn't start training seriously until grade 12. Darren (L.U. XC coach Darren Jermyn) was kind enough to let me train with him in first year."
Like many a runner, however, Date quickly took notice that there actually is a point of taking it to excess.
"I got really excited in first year and ran for two months straight - and then didn't run again for six months," he laughed. "For me, I really had to find a healthy balance, not putting too much in and just training consistently."
For Lo-Ellen Park graduate Kristen Mrozewski (the top finishing women with a time of 18:43 - 6th best all-time by an L.U. female at this event), the fact that her running pursuits are no longer mixed in with competitive hockey training has definitely helped the third year Nursing student take it to the next level.
"I think just focusing on running instead of having my focus in different areas is really helping me," said the 20 year-old multi-sport talent. "It was a matter of figuring out what works for me: needing a rest day every week; having an easy day before a race."
"And I am coming off a pretty strong indoor and outdoor track season which I think boosted my confidence a little bit."
In fact, while she posted a very nice time over the five kilometre distance, she is far more looking forward to seeing exactly what the indoor season holds in store and she can go pretty much all-out for one thousand metres.
"I am more focused on the track season, to have a really fast track season and get closer to the U Sports standards," she said. "I am using the cross-county season tostay fit, get in the racing mode and get used to getting faster."
Rounding out the 5km top ten and top five women were:Noah Sullivan - Nipissing - 16:58
Sam Rice - Lo-Ellen Park - 17:12
Nicholas Lambert - Triathlete - 17:18
Patrick Leroux - Laurentian - 17:20
Alex Fishbein-Ouimette - Track North - 17:30
Noah Cornish - Nipissing - 17:42
Top Five Women
Kristen Mrozewski - Laurentian - 18:43
Megan Crocker - Track North - 19:03
Angela Mozzon - Laurentian - 19:37
Meredith Kusnierczyk - Laurentian - 20:18
Donna Mae Robins - Unattached - 20:26
Top Five Men - Half-Marathon
Dan Whalen - 1:25:00
Kris Cacciotti - 1:37:26
Steven Gonder - 1:38:13
Marc Cayen - 1:39:51
Brent Walker - 1:40:56
Top Five Women - Half-Marathon
Michelle Bryson - 1:44:46
Ramona Benoit - 1:57:22
Tricia Goeldner - 1:57:48
Ashley Hayes - 1:58:10
Jessica Shea - 2:04:20