Aces runners enjoy challenges that cross country events bring
For many of the runners on the Airdrie Aces Athletics Club, practicing outside before the start of the indoor track and field season is a good way to get themselves into tip-top shape.
However, there are those Aces runners that take their outdoor running to another level during the fall, as they compete in cross country meets around the province.
“The courses are kind of neat and there are always elevation changes, which you don’t face at all when you are running on a track,” said 15-year-old Paul Riek. “For those of us with the Aces that take part in the cross country events, it’s really good cardio work and it’s great for us to get our conditioning levels up before we compete indoors.”
During the fall, members of the Aces compete in the Saucony Run Alberta Cross Country Series, which pits them against many of the top youth runners in the province.
After two events in September, 14-year-old Scott Chalupiak has been the leader of the pack for the Aces, as he won the gold medal in the midget boys’ three-kilometre events in Red Deer on Sept. 14 and in Calgary on Sept. 17.
Ava Sliek, 12, has also earned two medals so far this season, as she won the bronze medal in Red Deer and captured the silver medal in Calgary in the bantam girls’ two-kilometre event.
12-year-old Isaac Wetmore (silver in two-kilometre bantam boys’), 14-year-old Jordyn Stadnyk (bronze in three-kilometre midget girls’), 11-year-old Maya Hand (bronze in one-kilometre peewee girls’), and 10-year-old Jasmine Szucs (silver in one-kilometre peewee girls’) also picked up medals at the meet in Calgary on Sept. 17.
“It helps us out as runners a lot to have our teammates there at these events,” Szucs said. “It’s nice to have somebody to talk to in between our races, and it makes it a lot of fun for all of us.”
While many of the Aces runners compete in both cross country and indoor track events, those who don’t take part in the outdoor meets in the fall think that their teammates are a little nuts.
“I’m not a long distance runner, so I think that they are pretty crazy to be doing that,” Pentathlon competitor Julie Noyes said. “However, I do think that practicing outside with them is a good thing for someone like myself, as our cardio levels are lot better for those of us who will be running in sprint events.”
The next cross country meet for the Aces will take place on Oct. 5 when the team will travel to Leduc.