Cross-country runner “competitive from day one”

photo by James Mackenzie

Imagine running a five-kilometer cross-country race in 24.08 minutes, earning eighth place in a field of 53.

Now imagine achieving this feat without formal training at a track or in a running club.

That’s exactly what SAIT radiology technology student Rebecca Britton accomplished recently in Red Deer Sept. 25 during the ACAC Grand Prix exhibition meet No. 3.

Britton took up running in 2008 with friends she worked with at a skateboard shop in Jasper. She says they went out five or six times a week, running five to 15 kilometers each time.

“I love running,” says Britton. “I was always competitive with myself.”

Although she played high school soccer in her hometown Brandon, Man., “I never thought of competitive running,” she says.

That changed when she arrived at SAIT in September 2009 and saw a poster promoting the cross-country team.

“I had the coach’s phone number for one year before calling,” says Britton. Finally, this past September she picked up the phone.

When Britton called with her training run times, SAIT cross country coach Jamie Grant invited her to a practice.

“She was competitive right from day one,” he says. “Keeping up with the fastest guys for 40 to 50 minute runs with no difficulty.”

Grant says Britton’s commitment and dedication are her strongest assets.

“She gives her 100 per cent in each workout,” he says. “(Running) every interval like it’s a race.”

He looks to Britton as a leader and, with that, has made her the cross-country women’s team captain.

Both coach and athlete have set their sights on the Alberta Cross Country Championships Oct. 30 in Camrose.

A top seven placement at this event would earn Britton funding for the Cross Country National Championships in Fredericton, N.B. on Nov. 13.

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