Wilkie adds another win

Third-year runner wins the Western Invitational

Alex Wilkie won the Western Invitational in 24:35, a whole 10 seconds faster than second place.
Alex Wilkie won the Western Invitational in 24:35, a whole 10 seconds faster than second place.
Credit: 
Ian MacAlpine

A standout since his first season in the OUA, Queen’s third-year runner Alex Wilkie had the privilege of standing at the top of the podium this past Saturday at the Western Invitational.

Finishing the eight-kilometre cross country race with a time of 24:35, Wilkie clocked in 10 seconds ahead of the second-place finisher. 

His efforts awarded him both the titles of CIS and OUA male athlete of the week, a first in his career. 

Wilkie credits head coach Steve Boyd with the proper race plan to aid his win.  

“A lot of our communication happens during the race,” Wilkie said. 

Initially, Wilkie started in the middle of the pack as a strategic move. He said he “let the guys go off one by one.”

But eventually Wilkie got to a point where he felt uneasy about the growing distance between him and the leaders. 

“I was sitting back, looking over at Steve [Boyd],” he said. “When I saw him I kinda went, ‘What do I do here, man?’ There’s like a 30-metre gap.’” 

When Wilkie eventually caught up, his coach told him to give it his all.  

“I ran basically alone for the last five or six minutes,” he said. “A lot of [the other runners] paid the price for going out that hard.” 

Wilkie said Boyd told him late in the course that, while Wilkie shouldn’t jog it in, the race was essentially won.

“Some of the guys in the race, on paper, were way better than I am,” Wilkie said. “It kinda freaks you out. That’s why Steve’s training, and pre-race chats are good for instilling confidence.”

Wilkie noted that his training, which have lengthy runs as a staple, differs from many other schools, which use higher intensity workouts over shorter distances. 

“By the end of the week,” Wilkie said, “they’re running less compared to what we [at Queen’s] do. In August, some of us were running 80 or 90 miles a week.” 

When asked if he follows his plan strictly, his response was a definitive “yes.” 

As he lives with several of his teammates, keeping up with training is easy for Wilkie.

“You can give people some stick when they are not coming out for runs and stuff, they’re just being lazy or something,” he said laughing. 

Wilkie hopes to place in the top 10 at the CIS in Guelph, which would qualify him to compete in Italy at FISU, representing Queen’s on the international scale. He’s had his hopes set on qualifying since July of this year. 

He competes this weekend at Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. 

While Wilkie is on track  to be one of the nation’s top university runners, he isn’t always focused on the accolades. 

“[I run] because you can be one with your surroundings,” he said. “You have just you and your thoughts and what you see out there.”

 

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