© Copyright – 2013 – Athletics Illustrated
Port Moody, BC’s Natasha Fraser won the North American Central American and Caribbean Cross Country Championships on Saturday January 26 in Mandeville, Jamaica. Her win along with Vancouver resident, Rachel Cliff’s second place finish helped Team Canada secure the team gold medal. Of the four team competition, senior men and women and junior men and women, Team Canada won three of four events and finished second in the senior men’s. When asked to describe how the race played out Fraser said, “My original race plan was to run behind the U.S. girls for most of the race and then go for it over the final 1km, but what actually happened was very different,” Fraser continued, “I started out following the race plan as I ran in the pack for about 500m, then teammate Lindsay Carson made a move to the front and so I went with her. Then at around 1km, teammate Rachel Cliff picked up the pace and moved to the front, so I went with her. The pace was still quite conservative and I was feeling pretty good, so at 1.5km I made a push up one of the hills and no one went with me.”
The course was run on a two kilometre loop at a golf course with some sideways running and very hilly elements. “It was one of the hardest cross-country courses I’ve ever raced on,” revealed Fraser. “It was about 27 or 28 degrees celcius and cloudy with a bit of sun, so pretty it was pretty hot, but not too bad.” Additionally, Fraser mentioned that the grass was long in parts and surfaces quite uneven. She continued to describe how her raced finished, “At 4km I had about 120-130 meter lead, but was feeling pretty rough and was starting to worry that I was going get caught. The Team Canada coaches kept telling me I was till gaining on them. At this point I realized that everyone must be in as much pain as I was at that point! So I just toughed it out for the final two kms and managed to maintain my position for the win.”
On October 27th, Fraser won the BC Cross Country Championships and followed that up with a third-place finish November 24th at the National Cross Country Championships. On January 13th she ran an outstanding road race at the 2013 Pioneer 8k race in Victoria, BC, setting a new course record and threatening the Canadian 8k record with her finish time of 25:28. Fraser, because of her win at NACACs has fully secured Athletics Canada support to compete in the IAAF World Cross Country Championships that take place in Bydgoszcz, Poland on Sunday, March 24th 2013. “My main goal for the spring has always been the Worlds in March. However, unless you win NACAC championships there was no guarantee that Team Canada would go. Now that I know 100% that I will be competing at World cross country, I can really focus on training and preparing for that,” shared Fraser. She continued, “I will race a 3km indoors at the University of Washington on Feb. 9, and maybe a local 5km road race in early March. I’m not planning on racing too much before Worlds, as I really want to get in some good training.
Asked to describe her experience in Jamaica she said, “It was awesome there! Everything was so well organized and all of the people were very friendly. I had a great time with everyone on Team Canada and the team performed so well. It was such a fantastic group of people; we had a lot of fun and I miss them already!