With odds stacked against him, Alex Wilkie races again for Queen’s

Faced with a 30 per cent chance of returning to competitive running, Alex Wilkie races again for Queen's University

Alex Wilkie

The 2015 Ontario university cross-country champion, less than a year after having surgery to his hip, returned to competitive racing on Friday.

Alex Wilkie, racing for Kingston, Ont.-based Queen’s University, competed at the Paul Short Run at Lehigh University in Pennsylvania. He had not raced cross-country for Queen’s since finishing 31st overall at the 2015 Canadian university cross-country championships, a race in which he was a favourite, because of a rare genetic bone impingement. He had experienced discomfort because of the impingement in prior races, describing the pain as “a loss of coordination in my leg,” and the injury flared up at the national championships.

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As Queen’s University athletics writes, Wilkie was “finally diagnosed with a partially torn labrum in his hip, in addition to calcification of the joint” the following spring. Doctors told Wilkie that he had, according to the Queen’s Journal, a 30 per cent chance of returning to competitive running.

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After having surgery and taking off the entire 2016 year, Wilkie clocked 25:12 for 8K on Friday, his first race of the 2017 cross-country campaign. The Almonte, Ont. native finished 22nd overall and fourth on the Queen’s team.

Canadians went 2-4-6 in the women’s 6K at Lehigh including performances from Villanova’s Nicole Hutchinson and Queen’s University’s Branna MacDougall, the 2017 Western Invitational winner, and Claire Sumner, the defending U Sports cross-country champion. The Queen’s women are the top-ranked team, per the coaches poll, in Canada.

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The Paul Short Run is the largest intercollegiate cross country meet in the United States and often attracts Ontario universities as it features deeper fields, and NCAA talent, that most Canadian cross-country races.