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

West Shore RCMP seizes Camp Namegans’ U-Haul truck

Lock and gate damaged at Thetis Lake Campground in View Royal

Multiple earthquakes off Vancouver Island recorded around the world

Five earthquakes overnight on Oct. 21 were measured as ‘strong’

See your great fog images from across Greater Victoria

It was a foggy day today and your cameras captured some beautiful images

MISSING: 40-year old Kasung Shillingford

VicPD are trying to find Shillingford who was last seen on Aug. 18

Canada Post strikes leaves small shops in the lurch as holidays approach: CFIB

Rotating strikes began in Victoria, Edmonton, Halifax and Windsor

New monitoring of vessel noise impact on endangered whales announced

Federal government to monitor underwater ship and mammal noise in B.C.’s Salish Sea

Used election signs could serve as emergency shelters, B.C. candidate says

Langley Township council hopeful wants to build one-person foul weather shelters for homeless

Liberals write off $6.3 billion in loans as part of money never to be collected

That includes student loans and a $2.6 billion write off that came through Export Development Canada

Category 5 Hurricane Willa threatens Mexico’s Pacific coast

Hurricane-force winds extended 30 miles (45 kilometres) from the storm’s centre

Trudeau, McKenna to announce compensation for federal carbon plan

Provinces that don’t have a carbon price of at least $20 per tonne of emissions will have Ottawa’s plan forced on them

UPDATE: American rapper killed in skydiving accident

Man, 34, dies in skydiving accident Saturday near Westwold, between Vernon and Kelowna

Man who died at BC Ferries terminal shot himself as police fired: watchdog

Officers didn’t commit any offence, says police watchdog office

Mother passes school trustee torch to daughter in Port Alberni

Jane Jones loses after one term, but proud of her daughter Connie Watts

Most Read