By Alex Cyr
U Sport has still not seen the last of Trinity Western’s most consistent Spartan.
She was 24th in London in 2013, 17th in Newfoundland in 2014, 10th in Guelph in 2015, and 5th in Quebec City in 2016. There might not be a runner in the U Sports circuit that has shown more consistent improvement than Regan Yee.
The South Hazelton, B.C. native and education major at Trinity Western University is poised to stir the pot once again this weekend in Victoria, in what will be her fifth consecutive U Sports Cross-Country Championship.
This year, Yee jumped into cross-country training shortly after her summer track season, which culminated in a ninth place finish in the 1500m final of the World Universiade (FISU) games. It was her fifth time representing Canada on the international stage. This weekend, she once again hopes to improve, making the podium.
AC: How has your training been going over the last few weeks?
RY: Its been going pretty smoothly. We began tapering last week. Normally, (Coach Mark) Bomba makes us do hill workouts and tempos and long runs up Burnaby mountain, but now the intensity is dropping down.
AC: You attend Trinity Western University in Langley, BC. Because of your school’s location, you rarely race against other Canadian schools. Is it a challenge to face the unknown year after year? If so, how do you deal with it?
RY: I don’t find it to be a challenge. I’d even go as far as calling it an advantage! Nobody ever knows what to expect from us. Personally, I run best as an underdog. When I don’t regularly compete against the same people, I don’t build a history against them. It makes it easier for me, mentally.
AC: You lost a good training partner last year in Lisa Brooking. She had finished only one spot ahead of you at the 2016 U Sport championship. Have you been finding it difficult to run on your own in races this year, instead of having a teammate to chase?
RY: Not really, because we still have a strong team. Depending on what the workout is, there is always a teammate to work with. For example, Mirelle (Martens) is very strong in tempo runs, and can push me. I do, however, miss having Lisa around and chasing her in hill workouts.
AC: You have the privilege of having seen the course in Victoria. What were your thoughts? How much does knowing a course play to one’s advantage?
RY: I really like the course. I prefer 6k to 8k, and I find the 2k loops make the race go by faster. The course is also very spectator friendly, which I like. I will get to see my coach lots during the loops.
Knowing the course, I think, is a great advantage. We know where we need to pick up the pace. We also have a better sense of when we are coming into the home stretch, and how far there is left to run.
AC: You are a veteran of U Sports national competitions. Have you set a goal for yourself this time around?
Placement wise, I have progressed in each of my 4 years as a varsity athlete. Last year, I was 5th overall. So, I’d like to top that. Making the podium is my goal this year.
Getting to know Regan:
Social media: Instagram – @reganyee / Twitter – @_yeezydoesit
Personal bests: – 1,500m – 4:09.24 – 3,000m: 9:53.99
Men do facial hair, do you have any cross-country rituals? – Nope! No rituals at all… maybe that is a ritual in itself.
Cross-country Spikes of choice – Aggressive track spikes. New Balance LD5000.
Pre-race meal – Nothing in particular. Once I had a poutine; it worked fine!
Favorite professional runner – Emma Coburn
Pump-up song – “Titanium” by David Guetta, feat. Sia
Hard with hills, or fast and flat? – Fast and flat.
Who are you looking forward to see at the U Sport championship? –Jouen “Mighty Mouse” Chang. Hands-down the most underrated runner racing at U Sports this weekend.