Take a lap

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University of Regina athlete Karissa LePage loves what many people despise

Autumn McDowell
Sports Editor

For University of Regina Cougars women’s cross-country athlete Karissa LePage, being told to run laps is a reward, not a punishment.

LePage is returning for her third season as a member of the cross-country team, and after being nagged with injuries in 2010 she is eager to make an impact this season while doing something that she loves.

“I love competition and I have been competitive all my life,” LePage said. “I started taekwondo at the age of seven and competed on Canadian teams, and started running when I was ten. Doing both at the same time got to be too much, so eventually I picked running since I wanted to do a sport at the university level. I have also met so many people through running who will be my lifelong friends.”

Although many people would dread having to run multiple kilometers everyday, LePage looks forward to the task.

“Not only does running make me feel good, [help me] de-stress, and keep me fit, it is also highly competitive,” LePage said. “Running is not just about being physically fit for your event, but there is also a huge mental aspect, especially since pain is a factor.”

LePage attended Michael A. Riffel High School in Regina before attending the U of R, where she is enrolled in science. Running, combined with a tough course load, can be a juggling act for this young cross-country star. 

“Balancing school and running can sometimes be a difficult task, but being in my third year it is starting to get easier,” LePage said. “However, it is not only school and running I have to balance, but also working, making sure I am eating properly, and getting enough sleep. All these things can have a major impact on my running so time management is key.”

LePage has competed in four events so far this season and still has the Stewart Cup to go before the CIS championships in November. After posting strong numbers at almost every event, LePage has a reason to like almost all of them, but there is one particular event that she looks forward to more than all the others.

“My most favourite cross-country event to attend, other than CIS, is the Roy Griak Invitational in Minneapolis, Minnesota,” LePage said. “There is great competition and each race usually has around 250 people and there are a total of six university races between Div I, II, and III for guys and girls. The atmosphere is unreal, the course is beautiful, and everyone is ready to run hard. It is not something you get to see up in Canada.”

Last season LePage had numerous impressive finishes including third at the Cougar Trot (five-kilometre, 18:49), third at the University of Saskatchewan open (4.5-kilometre, 16:27), fifth at the Minot State Invitational (five-kilometre, 18:27) and 20th at the Roy Griak Invitational (six-kilometre, 23 minutes three seconds). However, after experiencing injuries in the latter half of the season, LePage’s competition schedule was cut short. This year, she has her eye on the prize.

“The main goal that I have for this season is to really move up at CIS. I have had injuries over the past two years which has set me back,” LePage said. “I have compartment syndrome in my shins, which I found out in my first year, which I have to constantly manage since I don't want to get surgery, as well as a few hip problems. I was unable to go to CIS last year due to a hip strain which occurred midseason. This year I have had a few hip problems, but I am really hoping to get top 20 at CIS and place well within CanWest.”

LePage and the rest of the cross-country team is scheduled to be in action Oct. 29 at the Stewart Cup in Edmonton, Alta., before it competes for national recognition at the CIS Championships in Quebec City on Nov. 12.

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