Forest runner heading to Jr. Nationals in BC
A new focus on running has really paid off for Connor Black.
The Forest teen, a Grade 12 student at North Lambton Secondary School, will be representing Team Ontario at the Junior Nations in British Columbia in August for the 3,000 m. And with training times among the fastest in the country in his class, Black has a good shot at the podium.
But it hasn’t come without a lot of hard work.
“I’ve been running since the third grade but I didn’t get too, too serious about it until Grade 11,” says Black. “I competed in Grade 9 and 10, but I wasn’t focused on it; I was focused on hockey then.
“I’ve always had a passion for running; I’ve had the natural ability, I just didn’t put the time and effort in it.”
Black decided last year, after training for both hockey and running seven days a week, to step away from the ice rink. “I love the game, but maybe it is not the game for me. I have the gift for running.”
“I had to choose my priorities.”
So he got serious. Black joined the London Western Track and Field Club and started training. “I had to do the speed work to build up resistance…with the speed work it has helped me in the final stages of the race. In the 3-k, that last 300 meters that killed me. I’ve gained two seconds on that last 300 meters.”
This past track season, Black represented the area at OFSSA placing 39th overall. “I know there is more in me to really do well.”
Black earned his spot on the Ontario team by placing first in two events at the provincial finals in late June and has been working on increasing the distance he runs – he’s up to 23 km at once – and working out with the London Western Track and Field club.
He’s also been taking tips from Troy Adams – the Warwick ultra-marathoner who ran across Canada last summer to increase awareness about brain injuries. “I really do look up to Troy,” says Black. “Troy running across Canada is really remarkable with what he’s been through and to be happy all the time; it is really something special.”
Black and Adams share their love of the road. The young runner echoes Adams joy of pounding the pavement. “It is stress free,” says Black. “I just love going for runs.”
While he loves running, Black is pushing himself to do his best in BC. “The goal is top of the podium; the goal has always been that and I think I’m quite capable of doing it. If I stay healthy, it is attainable.”
– Heather Wright