Off the Bench: Katie Rice


By Katie Rice

During the Covid19 lockdown of 2020 I was not able to continue my passion for hockey due to the season having come to an end early. This was very disappointing and depressing as we had a
very strong team in Ingersoll, Ontario and had qualified for the Provincial Finals – all of that came to an abrupt halt…

Staying fit and active was extremely difficult during lockdown. We had an old bike on a stationary stand that I started riding in our garage. I rode it so much out of boredom and trying to
stay fit that it was starting to fall apart. My parents then bought me a treadmill and I just took to it and enjoyed the challenge of pushing myself. I had really only enjoyed short runs in the past
but I kept trying to push further and further.

When I started to give running a try, I wanted to improve at distance because during 2020, I had
all the time in the world to try and push my endurance. I started running around 3 km but it was a
run/walk, I was never able to get to 3km without stopping for at least 2 to 3 full months. After I
hit 3km without stopping, I just started to try and go for longer until I wasn’t able to continue.
This was my new obsession and it took my mind off of the social problems caused by Covid and
the lockdown.

In the year 2021, my first year at Fanshawe College, I was all online and lived at home. I was
worried I wouldn’t be able to meet or make new friends at school because I wouldn’t see anyone.
My parents and I looked at the sports and suggested that I should put myself out there and tryout
for cross country. I was terrified to say yes but I wanted to push myself outside of my comfort
zone more, so I agreed.

My first tryout came and I very nervous because everyone was so much older than me and have
grown up running, I was a real rookie at running in every respect – never having run a cross
country race or any kind of race at all. I was just hoping to meet some new people and hope
somehow to make the team. I knew I was not on their level of running at all.
After I met everyone, I felt more comfortable. Everyone is so supportive of each other, no matter
how little the accomplishments are. My teammates and coaches have become my family. Over
the past three years, each and every one of them have believed in me and have pushed me to a
new level of fitness I never thought I could be at.

The thing I love most about running is the community. The atmosphere is always so positive and
supportive of each other no matter what. It’s feels like one big family and everyone’s
accomplishments always gets recognized.
One thing I learnt when I got into running is that hard work pays off. If you put in the work you
will get results. It may take time but once you accomplish something you never thought you
could do, it is one of the best feelings in the world.
I made the team – it was an amazing feeling and having a whole new group of friends after the
Covid lockdown was so satisfying.

My first race was the Fanshawe Invitational in September 2021. I surprised myself (and I think
everyone else) during that race and finished in the bronze medal position. It was an amazing
feeling… even better that Fanshawe won the Woman’s Team Gold – I was part of something and
had contributed to a great team victory with my new family. Since then, we have accomplished
so much together. We have all felt the pain of training and pushed each other to have great
results. Being a Varsity Athlete for Fanshawe College has been and amazing experience.

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