Overcoming Obstacles with X-Country Running!

Two St.Lawrence students shine at National X-Country Championships in Kingston, Ontario.

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Photo: CCAA, 2008

Valérie Côté in front of other female runners on November 8th, 2008.

Mostly renowned for the quality of its basketball and hockey teams, Cegep St.Lawrence also offers a strong program in a variety of sports, as proven by two of its female students' remarkable performance at the latest national college-level X-Country championships. The competitions, which took place on Saturday, November 8th, were hosted by St.Lawrence College in Kingston, Ontario. Perhaps the fact that both institutions share the same name helped the two girls to get as far as they did, for Sophie Nadeau and Valérie Côté's performance was simply outstanding!

In order to understand how athletes sometime manage to achieve miracles with a short amount of time for preparation, I met with Valérie. This natural-born athlete has an unconventional story, as her journey to success has been quite tumultuous! She began playing basketball on a serious basis when she entered Séminaire Saint-François, at age 12. She quickly rose from one category to higher ones by demonstrating her incredible skills. After a series of fractures to one of her knees, she had to stop playing basketball, which represented an abrupt ending to the practice of the sport she enjoyed the most.

Valérie did not lose a single minute regretting her past hobby, as she immediately started running in order to recover faster and to stay in shape. Only two months ago, she decided that she would take her new passion to the next level and she participated to her first cross-country race in Sherbroke, on September 27th. She finished first, winning over numerous college and university students from everywhere in the province. "This is when I realized that I had found a new motivation to ensure both my academic success and my visceral need for sports," she claims. Following her victory in Sherbroke, she finished third in both the college-level Lac Beauport competition on October 4th and the college-and-university-level race that took place a week after.

Then, she won the provincial championships on October 25th, which automatically qualified her for the nationals in Kingston, Ontario, in which she finished 6th. The provincial X-Country association granted her with a loan in order for her to pay for the fees that such a high-level competition encounters. Valérie is not planning on slowing her pace; hence, her next goal is to perform even better at the civil national championships, scheduled for November 29th. One can surely bet that she will be granted with the local anglophone community's support!

Valérie has a bright future ahead of her. Until December 2009, she will be completing her college-level course at St.Lawrence. Meanwhile, she is training with Québec Endurance, one of the region's most praised clubs in cross-country training. After finishing Cegep, Val is hoping to pursue her dream outside of Quebec, where her aspiration to combine both her passions for sport and traveling has a great chance to come true. "What is great about higher studies is that many institutions could allow me to join an extensive sport program to my academic curriculum," she explains.

Congratulations to such an amazingly determined athlete and to her colleague, Sophie Nadeau!