When Clint Smith hits the cross-country course at Humber College Saturday he’ll run the first six-kilometers with his legs and the last two with his heart.
The Brigden native will be leading the Fanshawe College team at the Canadian Championship this weekend in Toronto.
Smith and his team became the first program to win five consecutive men’s team titles in October with four of the runners placing in the top 13. Smith placed first.
The Fanshawe team has won the Canadian Championships two years in a row and Smith earned silver in both those events. He’s hoping to claim top prize this year, but it’s not his main goal
“Here at Fanshawe, it is the team accolades that are important,” says Smith. “It’s a lot more fun to celebrate as a team…I would be nowhere here without my team to push me.”
Smith says he came into his own in cross-country when he arrived at Fanshawe. He ran in the last two years at LCCVI, placing well at events but says it was under the leadership of Coach John Loney that he learned what it takes to be the best he can be.
In the summer, Smith spends four to five hours training, including swimming at the Oil Heritage District Community Centre, and running daily. At school with his team members, Smith runs twice a day, except for Sunday when he only runs once clocking between 80 to 100 kilometers a week.
“There is a lot more than most people know,” says Smith, who is taking business courses in his final year at Fanshawe. “We have to say no to friends sometimes, say no to the late night snacks, late night parties and its hard…but its worth it.
“It will be totally worth it.
“I’d rather hold a gold medal at the end of the season than look back and wonder what I could have done to get there.”
Smith admits Saturday’s event will be a little emotional – after living and breathing cross country with his teammates for four years, he’s very aware this is a season of “the last time I’ll do this.”
That emotion may drive him to push even harder. But Smith says he pushes himself every race, straining toward the finish line in the sport he loves.
“When you’re running, the gun goes and you’re not done until you hit the finish line. There are no whistles, there are no breaks, it is just you and the finish line.
“We’ll be running 8k …I’ll run the first six with my legs and the last two with my heart”
Fanshawe is widely considered to be the team to beat at the nationals, but Smith and his teammates aren’t counting on that. “There is always the chance to be the best team that never was and I be damned if I let that happen.”
And while the Canadian championships may be Smith’s last college race, he’ll run on. Smith plans to go to university next year and hopes to be on Canada’s Olympic team in 2020.
“Where ever I do or go I will be running,” says Smith.