By Alex Cyr
If you are a Canadian track and field fan, you have likely come across the name Aurélie Dubé-Lavoie at some point in the past year.
The second-year bachelor of laws student at Laval has been mesmerizingly consistent since breaking onto the varsity scene in 2016. After finishing 16th at last year’s U Sports Cross-Country Championships, Dubé-Lavoie went to work. A strong indoor season, which saw her snag bronze at the 2017 U Sports Track Championship 1,500m, and an outdoor season in which she became a regular on the elite Canadian running circuit molded her into a fierce competitor.
Recently, she became the RSEQ (Quebec and area) conference cross-country champion. Now a year older, and many races wiser, Dubé-Lavoie hopes to place higher than 16th, and further solidify her status among Quebec’s – and the country’s – top athletes this weekend in Victoria. We got a chance to ask Aurélie a few questions.
Alex Cyr: How has your training been going over the last few weeks?
Aurélie Dubé-Lavoie: It is going well. The last few sessions have felt great, since we are decreasing our mileage and overall volume. The girls are ready to roll.
AC: You placed well last year at this event. You then medalled in the indoor season, before making the national 1,500m in your outdoor season. What do you think had contributed to your impressive consistency over this period of time?
ADL: Well, there is no secret, really. I don’t have the key! I am loving what I do, and I’m eager to improve. I am really tight with my teammates at Laval, and that also motivates me to the fullest every day. In the last while, I’ve been lucky to stay healthy. I have become better at listening to my body. I am a year older, and I am more aware of my limits, now. It is important to learn those things.
AC: You are only in your second year of eligibility, yet you are 21. To begin one’s varsity career at the age of 20 is common practice in Quebec. Do you find that the extra year (or two) helps in preparing you for the competition you will face?
ADL: I think it depends on the individual’s background. Some people start running at a younger age than do others. If you are a late starter, or a late bloomer, then yes, that year helps. But, if you are in tune with your body and you have been competing for years, I don’t really think it serves as any type of advantage.
AC: You and your teammate, Anne-Marie Comeau, have exchanged top spot on the Rouge et Or throughout the season’s races. Is there a rivalry there? Have you learned to work together when the going gets tough?
ADL: Yes, it’s great! Anne-Marie and I are really close. It’s good to have little rivalries within the team – it makes us both work for that top spot and want it more. But it’s all positive. We make each other better. Jessy Lacourse will also be challenging us this weekend, as she has been working out very well, so she will make it interesting. Ultimately, however, I hope we can work together in the later stages of the race.
AC: The Laval Ladies are ranked in fourth place, and will be squaring off against other powerful teams from Queens, Guelph and Toronto, among others. What will it take for the Laval ladies to sneak onto the podium?
ADL: We know it is going to be hard. Like we say, the stars will need to align, if we are looking to win. Our main goal is to be a podium team, and I think we have the tools to make it happen. If, however, it does not happen, we will still have to be proud of the season we’ve had. No Laval women’s cross-country team has ever finished inside the top four at nationals, so that stat is also in the back of our minds.
Getting to know Aurélie
PBs: 4:14 (1,500m), 16:04 (5,000m)
Social media: @aureliedubelavoie
Boys do facial hair, do you have any rituals? Last year, we had dyed our hair red. This year, you will have to wait for the banquet to find out.
XC Spikes of choice: NB XC 900.
Pre-race meal: Pasta the night before. Classic.
Pump up song: Sun comes out by Decco
Hard with hills, or fast and flat? Fast and flat.
Who are you looking forward to see at the U Sport championship? Laurence Coté. She is training at the [Athletics Canada] West Hub, and she is coming to watch.