The 2017 Canadian Track and Field Championships in Ottawa were a star-studded affair. Track fans came out in droves seeking autographs from the likes of Olympic heroes Andre De Grasse and Melissa Bishop. This level of hype hasn’t been seen on a Canadian track in a very long time. De Grasse even signed someone’s neck.
But there was a third star on the track at the opening “distance night,” mobbed with requests for her signature. At 16 years old, Brogan MacDougall of Kingston, Ont., had just won the under-20 3,000m national title. She gapped the field, including women three years her senior, after hanging around for just 300 m. If you weren’t aware of MacDougall’s wealth of talent and tactical awareness while watching the race, you’d have thought she was being impatient, revealing a lack of wisdom. Instead, she trusted her training and rightly disregarded the pack, deciding instead to pace herself to an eight-second PB.
MacDougall is nearly peerless in this country (and perhaps in all of North America) as a high schooler. That explains, in part, why she has stopped competing in OFSAA, the Ontario high school sports system. She’s opted to race against adults, and showed her ageless talent in April, when she won against a field of 65 athletes, most of them in college, at the prestigious Penn Relays in Philadelphia. And it was her first time racing the distance on the track.
She represented Canada at the IAAF World Cross-Country Championships in Uganda, finishing 30th overall in the junior race. She was also 10th at the Canadian 5K Road Race Championships in September, racing against Olympians and top college and post-collegiate runners. And she took home a bronze medal at the Commonwealth Youth Games.
MacDougall announced in the fall that, instead of taking a full ride from an Ivy League school, she was staying at home in Kingston, with her family and only coach she’s ever known, running for Queen’s University. It should be fun to watch one of the best young distance runners on the continent race within the Canadian system.
The Golden Shoe Awards are CR‘s annual year-end recap and the 2017 edition originally appeared in the January-February 2018 print issue.