By: Corey LeBlanc
In the home stretch of a 20-minute interval, when you are trying to replicate the "effort you want [to reach] in a race," there is nothing like having a teammate driving and supporting you.
Just ask Graydon Staples, a third-year runner with the StFX cross country program.
"It is extremely helpful to have someone to push you in training," the Horseshoe Valley, Ont. native says.
The X-Men student-athlete is speaking about how beneficial it has been to return to training with his teammates in recent weeks, even though they are not preparing for an Atlantic University Sport (AUS) meet season.
'And, it makes everything more enjoyable," Staples adds.
Describing his team as "like one big family," veteran runner Andrew Peverill says being reunited with his Saint Mary's Huskies' teammates has made a "world of difference" both on and off the trail.
He adds they are "challenging one another."
"It is great to have that support," the Lower Sackville, N.S. native notes.
Peverill says runners, during solo training, are often their own worst critics. He adds teammates are there "to help catch you when you fall."
Emily Trites, a freshman with the UNB Reds, says coming together with her teammates has been "very helpful." She says she wasn't as motivated while training on her own.
"It is much more fun," Trites adds, when it comes to being around people who are "such similar in focus."
Even though his student-athletes remained dedicated to their training over the summer months, Saint Mary's head coach Kevin Heisler agrees coming together as a team helps them "take it to another level."
"It motivates them to work even harder," he says.
Heisler adds establishing that "team atmosphere" serves several purposes, including providing Huskies' newcomers with the chance to meet people and make new friends, along with those benefits that stem from training together.
"It has been quite upbeat," he says, in describing the mood of his student-athletes, as they train without a conference campaign to focus on.
Heisler adds having the opportunity to be with their teammates, both on and off the trail, has been a "boost for their morale."
When asked about the mood within his program, UPEI Panthers' head coach Mike Peterson describes it as "better than expected."
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