Jodi Sanguin is a runner to watch

Sometimes you hear someone’s name around town and you know the name, but you don’t know why you keep hearing it.

You know that this name keeps popping up, and it sounds so familiar. That’s not my name. No, the name I’m talking about is Jodi Sanguin. A household name at Red Deer College, the city of Red Deer and maybe soon the entire country.

What has she done?

Oh, she’s only been the RDC Athlete of the week, the Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference Athlete of the Week, the Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association Athlete of the week, ACAC cross country champion, and the CCAA national champion. And that’s just this season! Did I mention she’s been undefeated this season?

So an athlete this great at running, this dominant a runner, has a leg up, (pardon the pun) on her competitors. She’s been running for years right? Wrong.

“I didn’t actually (start running) til Grade 12 in high school,” Sanguin explains. “And I did it just for leisure. It was a stress buster for me.”

From casual running came a half marathon. Then she caught the eye of Brian Stackhouse, head coach of the RDC cross-country team. The rest is history.

At the CCAA race held in Kamloops on Nov. 13, Sanguin was ready.

“I know that I’ve prepared this season, I’ve increased my mileage a bit. I felt confident going into nationals.”

Her toughest competition at the CCAA final race was Ontario Provincial champion Vicky Siemon, who got out in front early.

“She started quick and I expected that, its nationals, usually everyone starts fast. She had a gap about 20-30 metres on me, after the 2k mark.”

Sanguin held that gap until there was just 1,500 metres to go.

She hears nothing. “I am so focused during the race, my parents were at the race and they were yelling at me, and I didn’t hear a word they said. I totally zone in and I think about my pace, I think about my breathing and I think about when I’m going to make my move.

“And I always try to be positive,” Sanguin recalls. And that’s when she made the move. In the final 1,500 metres of the 5k race Sanguin reeled Siemon in, going from trailing by three seconds to leading by three seconds. And she didn’t look back.

The fifth year Bachelor of Science nursing student has attained many accolades in her running career. The CCAA has recognized her as an All Tournament team (top seven) every year: fourth in 2007, seventh in 2008, second in 2009, second in 2010. But never number one.

Until now.

This year she won gold! And after all that hard work, she can exhale.

“I did it. I finally did it!”

But where does she go from here? What’s next for the provincial and national women’s 5k champ?

It’s not certain, but she says she’ll keep on running.

“I have a passion for running now and it’s still fresh to me and exciting. And I don’t feel like my business is done. I’d like to pursue running post collegiate.”

With her success, her level head, and some more of her pre-race ritual (she prays with the team prior to each race) we could one day see her on the Olympic level. And then you’ll really know the name Jodi Sanguin.

sports@reddeerexpress.com

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