Looking for one last podium finish

Julie-Anne Staehli looks back on her five years at Queen’s

Julie-Anne Staehli (#42) has run for Queen’s for five years.
Julie-Anne Staehli (#42) has run for Queen’s for five years.
Credit: 
Journal File Photo

Julie-Anne Staehli is heading into one of her last competitive racing events for Queen’s, but her career is far from over. 

As a student and an athlete, her career as a Gael has been outstanding. Staehli is now in her fifth and final year of eligibility as an athlete, and is currently enrolled in a Master’s of Sports Psychology as well. 

In all five years of her eligibility as a distance cross country and track runner, she has been All-Canadian for Queen’s, captured two CIS titles and made the podium eleven times. Most recently, Staehli  won an OUA silver in the 3000m race and finished with a bronze in the 1500m. Those podium finishes have Staehli moving onto the U Sports National Championship from March 9-11.

Beyond her accomplishments for the Gaels, Staehli has been on three national teams — in 2014 for the University Cross Country Championships, the 2014 NACAC Track Championships, and the 2016 Pan-Am Cross Country team.

Behind all the accolades is the burning passion to run. 

“Probably the competitiveness, it’s just kind of in my nature,” she said about her love of running. According to Staehli, she’s played many sports throughout her life, but was always best at the running part so she tried track. 

Coming from Lucknow, ON, a small town on Lake Huron, Staehli says one of the best aspects of her career has been the opportunities it has given her to travel the world and meet people who’re passionate about putting one foot in front of the other — from Venezuela to Uganda.

For Staehli, she said that her career as both a distance cross-country and track runner has been made possible by the funding she receives. “As a student-athlete, I pay no more than anyone else … this has all been funded through Queen’s, my clubs and my sponsorships,” she said. 

After thousands of kilometers and countless pairs of new running shoes, Staehli has become a representation of how hard work and effort can pay off in the long run. She is sponsored by Focus Massage Therapy, New Balance Canada and has served as an ambassador for Addaday Canada.  

As she now sits with most of her university career behind her, this being her last year of eligibility for competing, Staehli says the finish line is still a ways away. 

Next year, she plans to return to the cross-country team as an assistant coach in the fall of 2017 and continue to train as well. Her goal is to compete at the upcoming Olympics in Tokyo.

“Definitely in my post Queen’s career, I will continue running and there’s always the goal of 2020,” Staehli said with conviction. 

But Staehli doesn’t want to just stop at running in terms of her contributions. In 2016, Staehli made a personal donation of shoes to QJump — a Queen’s organization that gives unprivileged youth in sport the opportunity to participate. “Once I realized how many shoes one runner accumulates in such a short period of time, and more importantly, the impact a pair of shoes can have on a child, this project became a mission,” she said. 

“We collect shoes from runnersat meets and those go right back into the community, primarily through the Boys and Girls Club”. 

In partnership with Athletics Canada, the sport governing body, ReRun will be expanding across the province this year and has their sight on the rest of Canada in the future. ReRun takes the shoes that runners no longer need and donates them to local children and other organizations instead of throwing them out. 

For now, Staehli is focused on Edmonton for the U Sports National Championships. She is currently ranked second in Canada for the 3000m, and hopes to beat Queen’s all-time record of 4:25.44 in the 1500m. It would be a dream ending for her Queen’s career.

“I’m excited and nervous as usual, but I want to make sure I enjoy my time in Edmonton, and my last race in the Queen’s singlet.”

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