Lost time doesn’t sit well with Emily Marcolini. It’s easy to see why because she is a cross-country and track distance runner. Marcolini is like any other distance runner. Time can’t be lost, it has to be improved. When Marcolini competes in any race, her goal is to better her best time. It serves as a constant motivation.
There’s no denying her motivation right now.
Last summer, Marcolini dealt with the consequences of a stress fracture to the growth plate on her right femur. She was forced to take six weeks off, followed by four weeks of low-impact training. This all before the cross-country season started.
It set her back. She lost time, and something she feels was much more important due to the lingering effects of the injury. To say she is making up for lost time this season would be an understatement. She is relentless and nothing is stopping her this time from getting what she wants to accomplish.
“I feel as if I lost a season that I could have had very good results in and it set me back quite a bit,” the Grade 12 St. Benedict student said. “I want to get back to having the results I was before the injury or better. I am always looking to get to the next level when it comes to racing.
“As I reach my goals I set new goals for myself. Some of the goals I set seem very ambitious at the moment, but I am hoping that with time, if training continues to go well, I will be able to accomplish them.”
Marcolini has made her presence felt on the high school cross-country running scene since she burst onto it in Grade 9 as a midget runner four years ago. She has won the city championship every year despite injuries, including two senior titles. She is a three-time regional (NOSSA) champion. This weekend marks her fourth trip to the provincial (OFSAA) championship.
In Grade 9, she placed 15th. In Grade 10, she managed to cross the finish line in 40th, despite loosing a shoe. Last year, still battling the effects of her injury, Marcolini placed 51st.
Her efforts have also helped propel and inspire the St. Benedict Bears girls team to new heights and challenging the best in town.
Marcolini really took a shine to cross-country running as part of training for cross-country skiing with the Walden Cross Country Fitness Club in Grade 6. Marcolini “knew the sport was for her” after her first running race through muddy and hilly trails. She thought it was fun.
What isn’t fun is the day-to-day routine Marcolini utilizes to reach her lofty goals. No one becomes a four-time city champ by using a half-assed approach. Marcolini pours her hearts and soul into training and preparing for each race.
“Day in and day out, it takes a lot of determination and willpower to go out there and do the training rain or shine,” she said. “Sometimes you have to remind yourself why you are out there by thinking of the results you want to achieve. Any one can do cross-country running — you don’t need to be really fast or athletic, you just have to go out there and do it.
“I have really good teammates and we all help push each other in practice,” she continued. “What motivates me to run cross-country is the feeling of accomplishment I get after a good race or a hard workout. That feeling is the greatest feeling in the world.”
Marcolini doesn’t need anyone cracking the proverbial whip. This is one determined athlete. She has set the bar high for herself and she holds herself to that standard day after day. Marcolini trains at Track North. The coaches see Marcolini being steadfast to her commitment to improve every day.
“Emily has a big aerobic engine and as she gains the strength to match, she’s going to become better and better,” said Track North coach Dick Moss. “She has the inner drive and motivation to perform the hard work that it takes to be a good distance runner. That means running many miles on her own and doing the boring extras like the stretching, strength and mental training that will eventually make all the difference.
“She loves to train and she loves to race and she loves to improve. She has the internal motivation that an endurance athlete needs, because it’s a long-term sport that requires years of dedication.”
Marcolini has plans to run at the post-secondary level. She has big dreams and goals, and they come from the direct result of what the sport has given her.
“Running has helped me to become more confident, more sure of myself,“ Marcolini said. “I find that it has also helped me to be more focused in school because I have learned that, in order to attain my goals, I have to work hard, so I apply this to school now as well.
“I hope to qualify for the Canadian university national championship, and to one day compete with the best in Canada and maybe even elsewhere in the world.”