Vikes runners head to Trinidad and Tobago

Sports Sports | Lifestyle

It’s a new year, and once again UVic will continue its proud tradition of showcasing its athletes on the world stage.

The Vikes international display kicks off this February with cross-country runners Ryan Cassidy and Thomas Getty travelling to Trinidad and Tobago to compete in the 2014 North America, Central America, and Caribbean Athletic Association Championships (NACAC), having earned a berth thanks to their impressive qualifying times at the National Cross-Country Championships last year.

The qualification races took place Nov. 30 at Jericho Beach in Vancouver, where Vikes athletes from the senior men, senior women, and junior men categories competed against fellow top cross-country athletes in Canada.

As anyone who has lived in the lower mainland knows, late November weather is often less than ideal, with race-day conditions being no different on this occasion. Rain turned stretches of the course into a muddy mess, providing an added factor of difficulty to the distance races.

“Well, going into the race, I knew that half of the battle would be the conditions,” explained Getty. “The course at Jericho has been traditionally muddy, so long spike pins were a must. I expected a lot of slipping and sliding and just managed to not fall.”

Unfazed by the elements, both Cassidy and Getty stormed to strong finishes in their respective races to earn the prestigious NACAC berth. Cassidy completed his 10-kilometre competition with a time of 32:03.71 to finish fourth in the senior men’s category, just 25 seconds behind first place.

Getty meanwhile competed in the junior men’s eight-kilometre race, clocking in at 26:24.37. The result was good for eighth overall, and within strikingly close time to the top finishers in the race.

Getty was excited not only with the strong finish, but also with the fact he will now represent his country and school on the international level.

“I am still in shock of having the opportunity,” Getty reflected on the achievement. “It has been a long-term goal of mine to represent Canada internationally. It is so exciting to have a chance to achieve this.”

While elated, Getty is keeping his expectations and objectives for the prestigious competition grounded. “My goal is to enjoy the experience and try to help our Canadian team win the NACAC team title.”

The cross-country portion of the NACAC championships is set to take place in Tobago on Feb. 22, returning to the island nation where the event was held from 2010–2012. Cassidy will take place in the eight-kilometre senior men’s race, while Getty will showcase his skills in the six-kilometre junior men’s tilt.

Canada has seen success at the event in past years, most notably in 2012 when Campbell River native and Olympian Cameron Levins won the men’s senior race with a time of 24:04.13.