“When I have a good race, I feel like I take my heart and I put it onto the track. It’s like when you watch a dancer and it moves you to tears. That’s what I try to do when I race.”
To UNB MA student Grace Annear, running is art – and it is an art that she excels at.
The middle-distance runner is a NB record holder of the 600 and 800 metre races, a two-time silver medalist in the CIS nationals 600 metre race and a 9-time All Canadian. She was named the 2016 AUS Female Athlete of the Year and, last July, competed in the Olympic trials. Just to name a few.
“Accomplished” is certainly one way to describe the 24-year-old NB resident. “Passionate,” “determined” and “resilient” might be better. In 2014, Grace walked away from track, going so far as to throw out her running shoes. But by July 2016, she had left retirement well behind her and ran in the Olympic trials as the strongest she’d ever been – both as an athlete and in her identity outside of the sport she loves.
It took a long journey for the middle-distance runner to get to this place.
Then: Befriending Olympians
Grace’s running career took off in high school where she won Atlantic and provincial titles, but she needed more than New Brunswick could offer to achieve her goals.
“The pond isn’t very big on the East Coast. Just like a smaller population, track isn’t as big a deal back east so the competition wasn’t very stiff,” she said.
Grace knew that she wanted to go further and run faster in university so she chose to do her undergrad at the University of Victoria, a campus known for its strong track program. Soon the athlete from small-town NB, who’d never seen a foam…
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