Every year, Canadian Running names its Golden Shoe Awards. After a national reader’s survey and round-table conversations with CR‘s regular contributors and experts, we recognize the best and most essential runners, races, clubs and places in the country.
Honour Roll of the Year: Brogan MacDougall
At the 2016 OFSAA Track and Field Championships held in Windsor, Ont., Brogan MacDougall’s 9:29.63 in the 3,000m wasn’t only good enough for gold, but also was one of the fastest times in Canadian high school history, breaking a 29-year-old OFSAA record.
School: École Secondaire Catholique Marie-Rivier, Kingston, Ont.
Coach: Steve Boyd
Personal Bests: 3K: 9:29.63 5K: 16:30
To top that off, in the fall, the Grade 11 student bested that 3,000m time within the first 3K of the Canadian 5K Road Race Championship, splitting 9:21. She finished with a time of 16:30, finishing fifth against women more than a decade older than her. The double OFSAA cross-country gold medallist won’t be competing in the high school circuit this year, having just transferred schools, leaving her ineligible to race for a year. She will, however, be toeing the line at the National Cross-Country Championships, taking place in her hometown of Kingston, Ont. (Editor’s note: MacDougall finished second at the national cross-country championships in the U20 Junior 6K qualifying for Team Canada for the 2017 IAAF World Cross-Country Championships. See video here.)
Brogan and her sister, Branna, have lit up the high school competition for the past four years. Branna, now attending Iowa State University, has been hailed as the fastest Canadian high school recruit to the States, ever. With her main training partner away at university, Brogan now works out with the Queen’s University cross-country team, where she often trains with the men’s team in order to have partners of her speed. It goes without saying that when Brogan enters Grade 12 next year, she’ll be heavily recruited both in Canada and the U.S.
Steve Boyd, coach of the Kingston running club PhysiKult, to which the sisters belong, admits that he first encountered Brogan as “Branna’s little sister.” It didn’t take him long to realize that Brogan not only had equal potential to her elder sister, but that her personality was quite different and would require different coaching as a result. Boyd says of the girls: “Branna is naturally open and expressive, while Brogan is more quiet and intense; having Branna as a sister has made Brogan determined to set herself apart. A telling moment for me when it came to understanding Brogan was when she said that her favourite athlete was Genzebe Dibaba, because ‘she beats her older sister [multiple World Champ] Tirunesh.'”