Dutton thrilled with OFSAA experience

She missed her pre-race goal, but the excitement that accompanied Heather Dutton’s appearance at the all-Ontario cross-country running championships last weekend was right on the mark.
“It was a really good experience,” said Dutton, who finished 152nd in the 214-runner field in the senior girls’ division Saturday in Renfrew (near Ottawa).
“Now that it’s over, it means more that I got to represent my school.”
Dutton—the first Muskie runner to reach the OFSAA championships since the school resurrected the cross-country program last year after an lengthy hiatus—covered the 5.12-km course in a time of 25:52.8. Elmira’s Tarah McKay won the race in 20:15.5.
It was the longest distance that Dutton had run in competition this year by half-a-kilometre.
“It wasn’t the distance so much as it was the course was a lot more hilly, and really mucky. It was tough to get traction,” recalled Dutton.
“It wasn’t what I was hoping for. I didn’t know what to expect. I think if I went again, I’d do better because now I know what it’s like,” she added.
The mass start at the beginning of the race also caught Dutton off guard as her strategy to try and leave the pack behind didn’t turn out as planned.
“I’m not used to sprinting to get a spot,” she remarked. “I was trying to get a spot in front, but that was everyone else’s plan, too.”
Dutton’s conversations with her fellow runners at OFSAA about their training regimen led her to bring back the idea of setting up a track team to Muskie cross-country coach Doris Barton, who embraced the concept.
“Heather was talking about how all these racers she spoke with also ran track as well as cross-country,” said Barton. “We’ll see what the interest is. We’d want to just concentrate on running, not any field events.
“But there’s certainly a possibility for setting up a small-scale track team at the end of March when the snow goes,” she added.