B. McNairn-Leader staff
IROQUOIS – Brynn Gilmour hasn’t let her first year of high school slow her down one bit on the track or otherwise. In fact, Gilmour has continued to quicken her pace throughout the current high school track and field season, bringing it to a successful conclusion at OFSAA last week in Oshawa, where she ran two personal best times.
Gilmour who began to train seriously, five years ago as she prepared for her Grade 6 school year at Iroquois Public, competed in both the 400m sprint and 800m at the Oshawa Civic Recreation Complex.
Although she failed to advance out of her heats, she put together personal best times in both events, gaining a good feel for the caliber of the athletes and for the intense excitement of competing at the provincial level.
“Brynn had an excellent year of competition culminating in her qualifying for the All-Ontario Championships,” says her Seaway High School coach Mark Lewis. “She worked hard all year and committed herself to achieving her goals.”
“She wanted to run under 60 seconds in the 400m dash, and was close to attaining this goal. She ended up running at 61.56 which was still a personal best (PB) by more than three seconds.”
In the 800m, the goal was 2:20 and she achieved it running in 2:20.92, which was a PB, a full nine seconds better than her time when she started the season.
“She barely missed qualifying for the final at OFSAA in the 800 and ended up with the ninth fastest time, actually running faster than one of the athletes who made the final,” says Lewis.
“She had a great year and was a joy to coach. She always worked hard and did everything we asked her to do, even if she didn’t feel confident doing it. Lindsay Waddell and Robyn Carriere and I were extremely proud of her accomplishments.”
For Brynn, her many races have been rewarding since her first season in grade 6. She credits her grandfather, Wayne Barkley, for peaking her interest.
“My grandfather took me everywhere. He got me started running around the neighbourhood.”
Throughout her elementary school career, she set numerous track records and consistently scored the honour of top girl at the annual Tournament of Champions.
In addition to her two days per week of high school training, Brynn trains three days a week in Brockville under coach Bob Tucker, who is with the Brockville Legion program. She runs one day per week on the weekend and takes one day off …the day off dependent upon her homework.
Lewis and Tucker coordinated her program at the start of the high school season, and according to Brynn it has “worked out fine. I work on distance with Bob and speed with Mr. Lewis. I am actually the luckiest athlete out there, as I have two really great coaches who are always there.”
A typical training session for Brynn runs 1.5 hours and includes arm and leg strengthening exercises. Training is year round, and, “yes” she says to everyone, “I run in the winter.”
For her mom and dad, Dale and Carrie Gilmour, it has been an interesting and, at times, nerve wracking experience. “When she was little she was always quick and always had endurance, so that’s why we began to think maybe she could look at it more seriously,” says Carrie. “It’s a huge commitment. She runs year round through snow and sleet. We didn’t realize there was so much science behind it all.”
Brynn began her first high school season with firsts in both of her events at the SD&G, despite the fact she was battling a flu bug. She ran the 400m in 1:05 which she says, “was not good” and the 800 in 2:33.
At a very windy EOSSAA she won the 400m with a time of 62 seconds and placed second in the 800 with a time of 2:27.
Then it was off to the East Regions meet where a personal best time of 2:22 gave her a second place finish in the 800 and a personal best time of 61 seconds put her in third spot in the 400.
The finishes allowed her to qualify for the All-Ontario.
Interviewed last Thursday before she left for OFSAA with her mom and coach Lewis, Brynn says she wasn’t nervous “yet”.
“I’ve had a pretty good season. I would like to be under 60 seconds in the 400, and I would like to run the 800 in 2:20 or under. Judging from my current times, they both seem attainable.”
Having now entered the high school level of competition, Brynn notes that “it’s a huge difference. The talent pool has opened up quite a bit. A lot of people who ran before drop it at the high school level.”
While you may not cross the finish line ahead of your competitors every time, every time you meet or surpass your personal goals at the finish line is a time to celebrate.
Those personal wins, and the experience of competing at a level that many just dream of, is what Brynn brought home with her from Oshawa.