London, Ont. native Charlotte Prouse is a steeplechaser on the track, a great cross-country runner, and an accomplished gum-chewer and bubble-blower. At the 2017 NCAA cross-country championships, she finished 12th and her team, New Mexico, took the win. We caught up with Prouse ahead of this weekend’s NCAA cross-country championships to talk about finishing school, her love of cross-country, when the bubbles started and the Canadians to look out for.
Prouse says her team is ready. Every season has its ups and downs, but the Lobo ladies are heading into nationals with a fit squad who can run together. “We’ve got so many girls who can run together, so we have people to fill in if someone’s sick or has gotten injured,” Prouse says. “Usually we’re not peaked until the very end of the season, so it took us a few races to get going, but we’re ready.”
Canadian Running: How does it feel to be finishing your cross-country eligibility?
Charlotte Prouse: I’ll be finished my cross-country eligibility on Saturday, but I’ve still got indoor and outdoor track. It’s crazy how fast the four years have gone by. I remember people telling me it goes by fast and I didn’t believe them. I’m hoping that by next year when cross-country rolls around I’ll have been selected for the World Championships in October, so I’ll have that to keep me motivated through the fall. But cross-country is the one time you get to have a team in running, so I’ll miss that.
CR: What are your individual goals for the race on Saturday?
CP: I want to put myself in it and stay focused. I can tend to zone out in the middle of a long race, but I want to avoid this, stay in the top 10, and see how fast I can run that final kilometre. The last 100m will be the last time I run cross-country, so that should give me an extra push. The big goal is to get the team on the top of the podium.
CR: Other Canadians viewers should look out for this weekend?
CP: Nicole Hutchison out of Villanova has been running really well and their team looks great. Rory Linkletter from BYU should also do well on the men’s side.
CR: What’s your dream post-collegiate group?
CP: There are a couple of good ones here in the States, like Bowerman Track Club or the Bosshard group, or Oregon Track Club. I’d be fortunate and thankful to be asked to join any of them.
CR: What’s your bubble blowing technique?
CP: I started chewing gum in the summer before I headed to New Mexico, and I continued when I got here because it’s so dry. I was doing it in workouts, and then started doing it in races. I chew exactly two and a half pieces of gum. A piece during warm up, a piece during strides and a half piece during the race. My brand of choice is Extra Polar Ice. Maybe a sponsorship one day?
You can catch Prouse at 11:45 a.m. EDT in the women’s race on Saturday November 17.