Kara Blair has made an incredible leap forward over the last year, and her individual accomplishments—highlighted by a fourth-place finish at this year’s nationals—helped push the top-ranked Queen’s cross-country team into championship territory.
Following an outstanding season as co-captain of the cross-country team, a position she received by peer vote, Blair could rightfully feel on top of the world. However, in an interview with The Journal, she kept things calm and collected.
“Overall, we had a really good season,” she said with a smile. “I don’t want to boast, I’m not that kind of person.”
The comments are a rather incredible display of humility from Blair, considering her growing list of accolades. She finished second in a tight race at the Western Invitational, fourth at the OUA Championship, and fourth again at nationals.
“I was shocking myself,” Blair admitted, “but gaining confidence with every race.”
Blair’s path to success has been a slow climb. She started running in high school because her mother was a coach, and gradually improved before truly breaking through last season with an unexpected seventh-place finish at the OUA Championship.
While her newfound success has undoubtedly changed Blair’s expectations for herself, her mindset remains grounded in realistic goals.
“I don’t want to set the bar unreasonably high then not reach it,” she explained. “For example, at provincials, I didn’t think I was going to come in fourth, but I built confidence during the race. I realized it was my race to lose.”
Despite some level of surprise, Blair knows none of this happened by accident—her training regimen and behind-the-scenes work has allowed her to take off.
“I’ve made a big increase in mileage,” Blair said, “I’ve gone from running 30-minute sessions to more in the 90- to 100-minute range now.”
Blair also credited her coaches, both past and present. She thanked now-departed coach Brant Stachel for his belief in her last year, and said that longtime Queen’s Head Coach Steve Boyd “[was] really great this year. It was such a smooth transition.”
While Kara may be approaching the end of her time as an undergrad student at Queen’s—she is currently a fourth-year kinesiology student with plans to go to school for physiotherapy next year—she’s not going to stop running anytime soon.
“I’ve always had a passion for running, it’s a nice break. I have a big racing season this upcoming summer.”
On the topic of marathons, which can be considered the peak for many long-distance runners, Blair kept it cool as always: “Maybe someday.”
Although never one to over-celebrate, Blair’s accomplishments this season speak for themselves. She’s undeniably a unique leader on the Queen’s cross-country team, and her dedicated work ethic and understated confidence have set her up for success no matter where she races next.
cross country, Gaels Athletics, Queen's Gaels
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