Bishop O’Byrne’s cross country team ran away from everyone this year.
The high school runners were identified by Jeremy Deere, a big believer in the mental and physical benefits of running, and owner of Strides Running Store.
Seven years ago, in an effort to get more kids involved in cross country running, Deere created an award that encouraged participation in the sport.
“We came up with the school achievement award for participation,” Deere said. “It’s the school that grows the most over one year over the next wins the award which is obviously the trophy, and bragging rights but of course with New Balance, we’ve donated 10 pairs of cross country spikes to the school as well.”
Bishop O’Byrne’s cross country team had a 75 per cent increase in participation from the pre-COVID season, which brought them the award and those 10 pairs of spikes.
Grade 10 student Vanya Lejeune said it will be great to break out new racing shoes next year.
“I’m actually excited about them,” she said. “I think it’s great for our school to have these to help us run a bit faster.”
LeJeune’s brother Christian is in Grade 12 and graduating, so he won’t be able to use the prize spikes, but he confirmed they will be a big help for next year’s team.
“It will be awesome for future generations that go through this school for people that may not have the opportunity to buy their own racing spikes and all that, so it’s good to help them perform in the races,” he said.
Team coach Kevin Tkachuk said he’s super proud of his running squad.
“Extremely proud,” he said. “They were a great team and the bonding – like the grade 10’s, grade 11’s, grade 12’s – they bonded really well and they were just excited to be there all the time.”