Katelynn Ramage hears her share of smart-aleck remarks when she’s out and about practising her race walking.
But then she just keeps on walking – faster than anyone.
Ramage, a Grade 12 student at Nanaimo District Secondary School, capped off her final high school track season earlier this month with a provincial championship.
It wasn’t even close – Ramage was half a lap ahead of the rest of B.C.’s best, finishing the 1,500 metres in just over seven minutes.
“You’ve got to go with the competition that’s given to you and Katelynn smoked everyone,” said Dave Matte, NDSS track and field coach.
The provincial title was expected of Ramage all season long. After finishing as the runner-up on the Island a few too many times in Grade 11, she put in the work during the off-season. Come the start of 2011, it was clear her training had paid off, and no one was going to be able to keep up.
Ramage said she was initially disappointed with her time at provincials in Burnaby before her accomplishment sunk in.
“At the end of it all, I’ve always had my eyes on standing on top of the podium and when I finally did it, it was a really rewarding experience,” she said.
There are other rewards for walking fast – ranked No. 1 in Canada, Ramage is sure to qualify to compete at national and international meets later in the summer. And in the fall, she’ll be attending Trinity Western University on a track-and-field and cross-country running scholarship.
Canadian Interuniversity Sport doesn’t hold race walk competitions, but Ramage absolutely intends to keep up the sport.
“Running more is actually going to build up my race walking,” she said. “They work two completely different muscles, and your cardio and everything. It just helps build a stronger base.”
She still won’t really have any race-walking teammates, though, and most passers-by still won’t really understand.
But she’ll just keep walking, one foot on the track, lead leg straight, all by herself, way out in front of the competition.
“I actually like the idea of an individual sport,” she said. “When you have a bad race and you post a bad time … it’s up to you to fix it. I like that challenge of it all.”
TRACK SHORTS … For more results from provincials June 3-4, please click here.