Legs tensed. Shoulder blades locked. Fingertips dug into the hard track. The starting gun cracked — and they were off. Runners tore around the track, arms pumping furiously, eyes fixed on the lane ahead. Their race finished, they moved aside. A fleet of new runners settled into the starting blocks. And the cycle began again.
On Saturday, runners from universities across Canada arrived at the University of Toronto Athletic Centre to compete in the Fred Foot Track and Field Classic. Varsity Blue Michelle Corallo finished seventh in women’s 60 metre hurdles in a time of 9.39 seconds. Steven Wilkens-Reeves placed third in the men’s 60 metre hurdles with a time of 8.94 seconds. In the women’s 60 metre dash, Lindsay Brandys came second for Toronto, finishing in 7.73 seconds.
As the longer distances began, more Blues took to the track. In the women’s 1,500 metre, Avery Garrett-Patterson and Christiana Agustin finished third and fourth respectively, while Somerset Jarvis trailed them in sixth. Chris Gowan came sixth in the men’s 1,500 metre with a time of 4.06.78 minutes. Daniel Wilson came in 12th in the men’s 600 metre with a time of 1.25.61 minutes.
Inside the track, the activity was feverish. Athletes warmed up for their races, jumpers roared feet-first into the sand pit, and pole vaulters rainbowed over the bar. Brittany Salmon finished fifth in women’s pole vault, finishing at 3.7 metres. Kayla Greenburg took sixth in women’s long jump with a final jump of 5.03 metres. The Blues men failed to place in their field events.
The late Fred Foot coached for over 40 years in Toronto, helping athletes such as UTSC Principal Bruce Kidd and Bill Crothers. According to journalist James Christie, Foot taught his athletes “to get over the Canadian inferiority complex and become champions on the world stage.” This dogged spirit rang through last Saturday, as athletes jumped, pole vaulted, and looped endlessly around the indoor track.
As the meet wound down, spectators began gathering their lawn chairs and empty coffee cups. Athletes zipped themselves back into their tracksuits and stepped out of their spikes. They trickled out of the Athletic Centre and into the bright sunlight, leaving the past hours behind them.
The Blues track team will race again next week at the McGill Team Challenge, Armory Track Invitational, and the Kane Invitational.