All photos: Maxine Gravina

The MacDougall sisters are a distance powerhouse duo that run out of Kingston, Ont. 

We caught up with MacDougall sisters, Branna and Brogan, to chat about running, the sister bond, and calling Kingston home. Branna spent one year in the NCAA at Iowa State before moving back to Kingston to rejoin her coach Steve Boyd and study at Queen’s University. Brogan graduated high school this past spring, and will study Engineering at Queen’s in the fall. 

Queen’s University in Kingston, Ont. has officially been selected to host the 2018 and 2019 U Sports Cross-Country Championships. The school hasn’t hosted a collegiate championship since 2009, but has played host to the ACXC Canadian National Cross-Country Championships for several years. Both of the women are very excited to race both USports and Nationals on their home course. “It gives you that extra boost,” they say.

The Kingston course consists of loops at historic Fort Henry. The race includes rolling hills and scenic views of the St. Lawrence River. 

RELATED: Queens University to host 2018 and 2019 U Sports Cross-Country Championships

Branna says her biggest moment in running was when she ran a 15:48 5,000m last year in Poland at the 2016 World Junior Championships. In terms of her favourite race, it’s the B&O Yorkville 5K. “I think the best race I’ve ever done was the Yorkville 5K last year. It was my first race back from injury. I just remember it being a lot of fun.”

Brogan says her favourite race was London 1,500m night. “I love the atmosphere, and seeing all the professionals was amazing.”

When asked about their interests outside of running, Branna jokes that, “I guess I’m really into concrete. I love civil engineering, I’m very passionate about it. I really like bridges and learning how to design bridges.” The older sister also plays the bagpipes, a secret talent that not many people know about. Younger sister Brogan is also musically inclined. She got back into playing the violin this summer. 

Brogan (left) and Branna (right) are pictured on the U Sports Cross-Country course in Kingston, Ont.

The sisters are both in Kingston to stay. They say their long-time coach Steve Boyd has been a big draw to remain in the city and run for Queen’s University. The sisters joke about Boyd, who loves to share stories: “At first it seems like he has so many stories, but then you realize he often recycles them.”

Branna was third at the U Sports Cross-Country Championships last November in Victoria B.C. Both women who placed ahead of her have graduated (Sasha Gollish of Toronto, and former teammate Claire Sumner of Queen’s). Despite her strong position within the women’s field, MacDougall is going into U Sports with the mentality that everyone is a contender. “You can never discount anybody,” she says. “There are always surprises every single year.”

Branna will also have her sister to contend with for the U Sports title, but the competition doesn’t seem to impact their relationship. If anything, it makes it stronger. Branna and Brogan love doing workouts together and pushing each other. Branna says, “One of my favourite things in the world is going out on the trail with my sister.”

U Sports XC nationals are set for Saturday November 10th, 2018. 

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