Runner finishes icy cross-country race with one shoe

Ben Weir of Glenlyon Norfolk School ran the icy provincial cross country championship course with only one shoe, and finished second

Glenlyon Norfolk School student and Oak Bay native Ben Weir ran the entire cross country provincial championships with one shoe

As Ben Weir approached the starting line of the provincial cross country championship race in Prince George on Saturday, one thing crossed his mind.

“How to separate myself from the (300) runners. It was pretty crowded and the trail narrowed fast,” said the Oak Bay teen.

Within the first 100 metres Weir was clipped from behind and tripped to the ground. His left shoe was nearly pulled off, but not quite. Before he could adjust it, he was up and running.

“(The shoe) was half on, my heel was out, and I thought I could figure it out as I went. But that wasn’t happening, so I knocked it off.”

It was one degree celsius, with most of the 6.7 kilometre trail ahead of him. A trail consisting of ice, rocks and tree limbs, as well as some mud and snow.

Despite falling and going with one shoe, Weir surged to catch the lead pack, meaning he spent a good amount of the limited fuel a runner can expend in a race.

The 17-year-old finished second overall, 15 seconds back of winner Tim Delcourt from Surrey. When Delcourt learned what Weir went through to finish second, he tracked him down, shook his hand and gave him a hug, said Weir’s coach, Paul O’Callaghan of Glenlyon Norfolk School.

“I can’t emphasize enough how important the proper footwear is in a race,” O’Callaghan said. “We go over a lot of things before the race, footwear selection and identifying every possible scenario so you can be ready. And we even mentioned what to do if you lose a shoe.”

The key is not to panic, which is exactly what O’Callaghan shouted to Weir in their quick opportunity to chat on the first of the three laps.

“I said, ‘I lost my shoe,’” Weir said. O’Callaghan’s response was to, “stay composed, stay focused.

“A lot of athletes would spend energy worrying and either drop out or drop in the standings. The key is refocus on the task at hand,” the coach added.

Crucial to Weir’s success was his ability to keep his rhythm, which he managed to do despite running in just a sock.

“There were some jagged rocks, especially on the downhills, which is where I lost time, but mostly it was snow and mud, and my foot was pretty numb,” Weir said.

“In 30 years of Olympics and world championships I’ve never seen anything like it,” O’Callaghan said.

The most refreshing moment of the race for Weir was catching running mate Liam Kennel of Oak Bay High. The running mates finished one-two at the recent Island championships and managed to stay within striking distance of Delcourt until the final kilometre.

“We knew at that point it was all or nothing with Delcourt getting away, so we went for it,” Weir said.

Kennel came in third, six seconds back of Weir, with Thomas Getty of Mount Douglas Secondary in seventh. All three train with Keith Butler in the elite after-school program and are headed to the national cross country club championships at Jericho Beach on Nov. 24.

Weir is currently weighing his post-secondary options as a cross country and track and field student-athlete in Canada and the U.S.A., with an eye on engineering.

 

Just Posted

PHOTOS: Thousands show for 40th GoodLife Marathon in downtown Victoria

New records, first-time runners, and stories of resilience

Mother of alleged hit-and-run victim hopes municipalities will work together to improve crosswalk

Young woman injured, dog killed when struck by driver on marked crosswalk at Foul Bay Road

Here comes the rain: Victoria can expect post Thanksgiving showers all week

Mild, rainy weather expected from Tuesday to Saturday

Opponents of Elizabeth May criticize her push to scrap temporary foreign worker program

May has proposed to scrap the federal program which supplies local business with temporary workers

Victoria woman uses loss to raise awareness of Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day

City of Victoria to recognize Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day Oct. 15

VIDEO: Greater Victoria, here’s the news you missed this weekend

Dog killed in alleged hit and run, Goodlife Marathon takes over city and more

Canadian Snowbirds plane crashes before air show in Atlanta

Pilot lands safely after ejecting from jet

Share crash data, private insurers tell David Eby, ICBC

B.C. monopoly makes drivers retrieve their own records

B.C. VIEWS: Wolf kill, not backcountry bans, saving caribou

B.C.’s largest herds turn the corner from extinction

Pearson nets shootout winner as Canucks clip Flyers 3-2

Vancouver picks up second straight home win

Map on Elections Canada website sends Nanaimo-Ladysmith voters to landfill

Address for polling station correct, but Google Map address differs

BC Children’s Hospital launches 2 new virtual care sites bringing total to 19 across province

Provincial initiative allows pediatric patients to see health specialists through video

‘Wham-bam out the door’: Surrey man’s front yard left ruined by scamming landscaper

Resident warns neighbours to be careful of door-to-door salesmen

Most Read