If it hadn’t been for the advice of one of her high school teachers 15-year-old Danika Robson might not be competing next week at the provincial high school cross-country races.
Danika, a Grade 10 student at Williams Lake Secondary School, will represent Williams Lake and her school Nov. 3 in Prince George against some of the best high school runners in the province.
She decided to try the sport last year on the advice of her physical education teacher, Leanne Korving.
Danika’s mom, Darla, said they then spent the latter part of the cross-country running season driving around the province attending races.
“[Korving] noticed that Danika was always ahead in her fitness runs and told her she should try cross-country running,” Darla said.
“We ended up running around trying to catch up on all the races because she said to me: ‘Mom, I’d like to go to provincials’ and she did.”
This season, which began at the beginning of October, Danika’s times and standing have improved provincially.
She’s attended races in Prince George, Quesnel, Vanderhoof and, most recently, the cross-country high school zone championships at Moore’s Meadow in Prince George, hosted near D.P. Todd Secondary School.
At each of the races Danika placed first for junior girls and second overall.
Danika’s time at zones on the 4.3-kilometre course was 18 minutes and 38 seconds, a mere 20 seconds slower than the overall winner, Prince George’s Emma Balasz, a Grade 12 student at Kelly Road Secondary School.
Danika said the course they will run at the provincial championships is the same course they ran at zone championships.
“There are a couple of hills that are pretty hard but otherwise it’s a good course,” Danika said, and noted she’s comfortable running there.
She added she’s set a goal for herself to finish in the top 15 at provincials.
“The girl ahead of her [at zones] will probably finish in the top 10 at provincials and it’s sort of Danika’s goal to keep her eye on her and stick with her,” Darla said.
To prepare for the cross-country high school running season Danika swims with the Williams Lake Blue Fins and runs on her own time.
“[I train through] mostly swimming and the occasional run around the track or trail somewhere, and hills sometimes,” Danika said.
She added she prefers cross-country running over running on a track.
“I’m better at the long distance running rather the sprints around a track. To me it’s more fun.”
As for Danika’s teacher, Mrs. Korving, Darla said she’s happy her daughter received such good advice.
“We appreciated Mrs. Korving’s eye because she saw a gift that was untouched yet,” Darla said.
“Since then she’s had a lot of success.”