Running like the wind
Trojans indoor track star looks to replicate cross-country success
Ricki Doyle was born and raised on a farm in Ernfold, Sask., a town with a population of 35.
She was the youngest of three daughters and running has always been a part of her life.
“I started running when I was really young,” said Doyle.
“It kind of runs in my family.”
Doyle eventually moved to the town of Herbert, Sask., where she completed high school and remembers being the sole member of her high school track team and one of a handful on the cross-country team.
“My mom was basically my main track coach,” recalls Doyle.
“It was really hard to not have anyone to train with – to get yourself in good enough shape, to compete on a varsity team.”
Still, Doyle is no stranger to adversity, having dealt with asthma her whole life. She trained hard and was awarded a scholarship plus a spot on the University of Regina (U of R) track team.
After three years of the nursing program in Regina, Doyle has moved to SAIT and plans to complete the Medical Radiological Technology program with the hopes of becoming an X-Ray technician.
“Coming to school a second time, I was definitely more focused on my studies than athletics,” said Doyle.
The student athlete, now a record holder for SAIT and the only female athlete to make it to nationals this year, laughs that, “It was after I came to SAIT that I realized they had a track and cross-country team.”
“I hadn’t done cross-country in four years, so for me to jump on board with a sport I’d never really been serious about was awesome. I could never have done it without my coaches.”
Battling a case of pneumonia during the winter training months, as well as Achilles Tendentious, Doyle has been working hard with SAIT’s athletic therapy program to get ready for the track competitions to come.
Her favourite event, the 400-metre dash, and also her best in high school, changes on the varsity level to the 300 and 600-metre events, which she excelled in during her time at the U of R.
“Coming to SAIT, I think I found a better event for me, which I [never] would have done had I not come here and done cross-country,” said Doyle.
The event is the 1000-metre. Doyle’s first competition in the event was at the MacEwan University Invitational Grand Prix where she placed first with a new personal best of 3:05:95.
Coaches have been encouraging Doyle to attempt the 1500-metre after her newfound successes in the longer distance runs. There are high hopes for this Trojans athlete.
“Track is neat because it’s so individual,” Doyle said.
“We’re a team and we help each other, but it comes down to what you put in. What you put into track is what you get out of it.
“On top of that, track is something where you can have two people with the exact same ability, but the person who wants it more is going to win.
“It’s like a huge mental battle and has a lot to do with how competitive you are.”
Doyle attributes a lot of her competitive nature to her upbring and years of training alone.
Her eldest sister, someone Doyle views as an inspiration, went to the Florida Atlantic University, and competed in NCAA track leagues where she still holds records.
Doyle’s goal for the season is to get her 1000-metre time under three minutes: a tremendous goal for many talented athletes at her level. As well, she plans to finish her program at SAIT and move back to the prairies.
“I always say, ‘stay awake’,” said Doyle.
“It’s easy to fall asleep in a race and settle in a place that’s comfortable. You have to push that and stay in a place where it’s not comfortable.”