Therrien strikes a speed-skating balance

By: Randy Pascal – Playback

 | Apr 21, 2014 - 10:48 AM |
Facing 10 other top-end skaters from across the province in Newmarket, speed skater Alexie Therrien lowered her persona best to 3:13.60. File photo.

Facing 10 other top-end skaters from across the province in Newmarket, speed skater Alexie Therrien lowered her persona best to 3:13.60. File photo.

Sudbury speed skater Alexie Therrien faces a dilemma.

Sure, the recently-turned-13-year-old has now enjoyed eight full seasons of fun since joining the Sudbury Sprinters, developing both friendships and her technique in the sport while attending the twice-a-week practices at the Gerry McCrory Countryside Sports Complex.

But as the only representative from the club to attend the provincial championships in Newmarket this year, she longs for more. Small wonder that she and her family dedicate themselves to making one additional trek, almost every Friday evening, hooking up with the Barrie Speed Skating Club for some additional practice.

"The competition here (in Sudbury) is not as high as it is in other places," said Therrien. "We have a lot of younger kids that have joined the club. We only skate twice a week — lots of places skate three times a week or more.

"I go down to Barrie on Fridays for practices and come back the same night. I find that really helps me more. They are more into endurance, so like skating 25 laps just as their warmup.

"Here, it's more for fun, because there are more little kids than older kids."

The reality of the situation has led Therrien to temper her expectations.

"For what I'm doing, my results were pretty good," she said.

"When I was at provincials, I got an 11-second personal best on a 1500m race. Eleven seconds is a big personal best. I was pretty happy with that."

Facing 10 other top-end skaters from across the province, Therrien lowered her PB to 3:13.60, despite the fact that she does not see herself as a distance skater.

"I like the middle, the 500s," she said. "I also like the 1500s, but they're not my strongest."

Therrien posted a best time of 45.60 in the 400m event, while crossing the line with a clocking of 25.38 seconds in the 200m race.

Still, she knows that there remains plenty of work ahead if she wants to close the gap on the bulk of her co-competitors who benefit from much larger club size, practising more often, and with skaters who force them to raise the bar.

In July, she plans on attending a speed-skating camp either in Cambridge or Toronto, combining plenty of on-ice sessions with some dryland workouts on the side. Regardless of the outcome, Therrien plans to forge ahead, simply enjoying the thrill of the sport that she has come to love.

For more information on the Sudbury Sprinters, visit the Club website at, or contact president Guy Therrien at [email protected] or head coach Jill Nadjiwon at [email protected].

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