Whyte leads Martlets to historic finish

Whyte Leads Martlets to Historic Finish

Nov 14, 06 Cross Country (W)
By John Dingle, The McGill Tribune
(reprinted from The McGill Tribune)

PROFILE: Running scared? Not likely
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There are many people who think that running five kilometres up and down a mountain through pouring rain and ankle-deep mud would not be much fun.

Lauren Whyte is not one of those people. A third-year political science student hailing from Belleville, Ont., Whyte is also one of the brightest stars of the Martlet cross-country team.

"It can be really fun," Whyte said. "There have been times when I don't want to go for a run because it's raining and gross outside or it's cold, but when you're actually out there doing it-especially with your teammates-it can be so much fun. Plus, it makes you feel like you're really tough."

Whyte's enthusiasm has caught the eye of cross-country head coach Dennis Barrett.

"Lauren is a hard worker," Barrett said. "Most of the time I have to do less to motivate her and more to hold her back from training too hard."

That sort of work ethic is essential for Whyte given the demanding training regime cross-country involves.

"We meet every day except for weekends and we'll do three hard workouts a week," said Whyte. "On the other days we just go for an easy run, which is a run up the mountain and back down."

Remember her use of the adjective "easy" the next time you are complaining about the hike up the hill to Stewart Bio or Upper Rez.

Despite her enthusiasm for running today, however Whyte fell into the sport mostly by chance.

"We had to do a sport at [high school]," she said, "But I didn't really like anything else going on in the fall, I just wanted to play soccer in the spring. So I figured, oh, I'll do cross-country."

It seems fair to say the decision has worked out pretty well. After being named the QSSF rookie of the year and a (Quebec conference) all-star during her first year, Whyte placed seventh at the CIS Nationals in her second year and was named Team MVP.

Maybe there is such a thing as too much running

Whyte's preparations for this season were hampered when she was diagnosed in May with Iliotibial Band Syndrome, an injury common to distance runners.

"It's annoying because you can run with it but you'll always have pain so you have to take at least a month off," Whyte said. "I had to take it pretty easy at the beginning of this year to make sure it didn't come back so I lowered my mileage a lot. I spent a lot more time in the pool cross-training and I think that's really helped. Maybe last year I did too much. This year I feel better."

Whyte is back to her best after the injury and is pleased with both her own performances and those of the team as a whole over the current season.

"It's been great," she said, "For the veterans coming back, we've all improved a lot. Our times have gotten faster. We also got a really good rookie [Stephanie Magrath] this year so our entire team has gotten a lot stronger and we're actually a contender for a medal at the CIS (national) championships."

Best. Result. Ever.

Whyte and her fellow Martlets showed that they were more than just contenders this past weekend, delivering on their potential and capturing a silver medal at the CIS Nationals in Quebec City. The second-place finish was the team's best ever result at the national championships.

Whyte led the way for the Martlets, finishing fourth overall in the cold, rainy conditions that would make others refuse to go outside, let alone run a 5 km race. Whyte and all of her teammates certainly feel proud of such an unprecedented result. And they should feel really tough too.

© Copyright 2006 The McGill Tribune