Red Deer College Cross-Country Runner Jordanna Cota finished fourth at the CCAA National Championships in Blainville, Quebec in the Womens 6 km division.
Cota, who was undefeated in the ACAC, was thrilled with her time, after shaving off two minutes from her personal best, finsihing at 22:10:50.
“In the ACAC we usually have quite a few hills, so I usually do quite well with that,” she said. “This one in Quebec was really flat and it was cold. In the running world, getting a personal best with your time is a honestly a huge thing. There is not much more I can ask for.”
Cota said she knew that nationals would be huge step up from the ACAC and she was preparing all season long.
“Honestly, that pushed me hard and I ended up beating a couple of girls that I never thought I could beat in my life. It was an overall good experience and it was very humbling to know there is always something you can keep working towards,” she said.
With the completion of nationals, Cota capped off her collegiate five-year eligibility thus ending her RDC running career. Cota, however, has no intentions of quitting running.
“I really want to get involved with the community and start giving back,” she said. “I would really like to teach in learn-to-run groups and hopefully I can get involved with running clubs in the community.
“I want to target younger girls and try to get them involved in the sport. I think it does so much outside of the athletic part of it. It plays so much into life, school, and work. I really want to give back.”
Cota also intends to continue to compete individually and looks to extend her distances beyond 6 kms.
“For myself, I would like to get into some of the longer distances like a 10 kilometres or maybe even a half-marathon. This next spring, I will run the fast 10 kilometres and see how that goes for me,” she said.
Even with big plans for the future, including a nursing career she has been preparing for at RDC, the ending of her time as a runner at RDC is difficult.
“It is bittersweet, but I have talked to my parents a lot about it and this is an ending,” she said. “You are used to doing something for five years and it is a little like what is going to happen next? I am excited for new beginnings and I want to start focusing more on my nursing career.
“Change is something that you can always count on and it will never not be there.”
She added that she took time to cherish every moment she could and thanks RDC Athletics for the opportunities afforded to her.
“The running program has given me a lot,” she said. “It is more than just running for a college and getting scholarships for school. It has made me grow as an individual. RDC is such an amazing school to go to. Everyone there is absolutely amazing and I think it has pushed me to be the best I could be.”
Cota said she hopes to continue to give back to the program, be it through coaching or simply supporting other athletes.
She added, “The athletes played an important part of the last five years. Everyone is so supportive of each other and that makes you want to go out and get that gold. It is a great environment to be around.”