If the name Kelly Wiebe does not sound familiar, it is clear you have been living under a rock for the better part of the last five years.
After an injury forced him to red-shirt for a portion of the 2011-12 season with the University of Regina cross country team, Wiebe has made his return to the course this year full of the confidence, passion and dedication needed to get back to the top of the podium.
In fact, he is well on his way to having an outstanding season.
So far this season, Wiebe has placed first in all three races for which he represented the U of R, and also took first place in the Vancouver Sun Run 10K.
To say the least, Wiebe looks good and feels good too.
“I found if you constantly fear being injured, you’re just going to get injured,” Wiebe said. “You just can’t think about it. You just do all the right things and everything will take care of itself.”
Wiebe felt confident and healthy going into his pre-university season. Even though he won some indoor races before competing in the Sun Run, he wasn’t expecting to get the result he achieved.
“I knew I was going to be up there, but wasn’t expecting to win,” said Wiebe, who undoubtedly has been asked how it felt to win that race more than a handful of times by now.
However, this season is not about individual wins for Wiebe, who states his goals are more team orientated.
According to Wiebe, the cross-country team has great potential this year and he would like to win Can West, as well as medal in CIS, all as a team.
“In CIS, I know everyone’s gunning for me." – Kelly Wiebe
Individually though, after CIS, there is Senior Nationals, where Wiebe would like to try and make the world cross-country team. And after this season is all said and done, the potential engineering graduate would like to train professionally.
“There are a few guys on a [Vancouver] team who made the Olympic team last summer,” Wiebe explained modestly. “So, it’s going to be a goal of mine to make the next Olympics.”
With the amount of wins Wiebe has under his belt already this season, it isn’t hard to imagine the pressure he is now under to finish on top.
“In CIS, I know everyone’s gunning for me,” Wiebe said.
Fortunately for him, in senior nationals, he feels that since so many of the men aren’t competing for universities it will ease some of the pressure off of him. Which, according to Wiebe, will allow him to “gun for the top spot there too.”
Wiebe knows – like any athlete training to become a professional – he is going to have many obstacles to overcome. But Wiebe admits that he enjoys the pressure that comes with success.
“Eventually, if you want to be really good, you’re going to have lots of pressure on you,” said Wiebe with a laugh. “So, it’s just a matter of how you deal with it.”
Another obstacle for Wiebe, especially as a student athlete, is time management.
Wiebe stated that he enjoys travelling, but that can cause things to get more difficult, meaning he has to manage his time pretty effectively. But, even with a hectic schedule, he still finds time to train.
“I run around here every day, twice a day,” Wiebe admits. “I don’t want to race here too.”
With the help of his prior wins this season, Wiebe is ready to embark on his final year running in a Cougars uniform. Now, it is just a matter of staying healthy and doing all the “little things” right in order to compete in nationals.
Wiebe will return to action with the rest of the cross country team at the Stewart Cup, on Nov. 27 in Calgary.