Fox Meadow (Photo Credits: Fairouz Gaballa)
The UPEI Cross Country team and the Gray Group hosted a 5km and 8km cross country race at Fox Meadow Golf Course in Stratford on Saturday, November 14, organized by Mike Peterson.
Mike Peterson, head coach of the UPEI Cross Country team, is a long time runner with 19 marathons, two 50km races, one 100 mile race, and countless half-marathons, 10km and 5km races under his belt.
Mike Peterson (photo credits: UPEI Athletics and Recreation website)
“My wife started running first, and I kinda caught the bug after watching her run,” said Peterson.
Peterson began running in 2008 and then in 2010 he began coaching the cross country and track and field teams at Colonel Gray High school.
In 2015, Peterson was the founder of the Cross Country team at UPEI. He then passed the role of coaching the UPEI team on to Collin MacAdam because Peterson was very busy. Peterson juggled a young family, completing a Master’s degree, and coaching at Colonel Gray.
In 2019, Peterson returned as the head coach of the UPEI Cross Country team.
Peterson organized the recent cross country race at Fox Meadow Golf Course both to give motivation to runners and to possibly secure a spot for future races.
“When Fox Meadow reached out to us to say they’d like to host something like this, the first thing that went through my mind is that eventually we’re gonna have to host the AUS Championships within the next couple of years; this would be an outstanding place to do that.”
Peterson also wanted to have an 8km time trial race for the Cross Country team, so everyone would push a little harder and have extra motivation to keep training since the season was cancelled due to the pandemic.
“I realize we’re in a pandemic, and this is a strange time, and it was a lot of work to make sure we met all the safety protocols with CPHO. We really had to manage keeping under 50 people on a 750-acre course at all times,” Peterson said.
“I’ve organized several races over the years, and [this race] was another layer of work, but it was necessary work, and I was happy to do it.”
The guidelines made by CPHO were followed precisely with Peterson and volunteers wearing masks throughout the duration of the race and making sure that spectators and runners followed particular paths.
Throughout the interview, Peterson was very passionate about one thing, making sure everyone who ran felt good after their race.
His goal is for people who run to be lifelong runners and feeling good after running–especially after a race is a contributing factor.
“I just hope everyone leaves feeling really good about the experience that they had,” Peterson said.
“I have this dream of PEI being this running hotbed where everyone runs, and everyone likes each other. And we all run around the boardwalk and wave at each other and smile. There’s already a really strong, helpful running community here, and we just want to keep that going.”
Peterson was pleased with how the race unfolded.
The start line of the women’s 8km race (photo credits: Ron Annear)
Overall, there were 14 women in the women’s 8km race. On the Women’s Cross Country team, Tait Kelly came in 6th place, Hannah Ives in 8th place, followed by Jessie Campbell in 9th place, Annika Wiebe in 10th place, Melanie Mitchell in 11th place, Ella Jenkins in 12th place, and Mary Theresa Pitre in 14th place.
The start line of the men’s 8km race (photo credits: Ron Annear)
In the men’s 8km race, there were 17 men. On the Men’s Cross Country team, Dan Maguire came in 3rd place, Jack Roberts in 4th place, Riley Fitzpatrick in 5th place, Riley Smith in 6th place, Daniel Godfrey in 8th place, Matthew Kozma in 10th place, Danny Collins in 12th place, Samuel Peterson in 14th place, Pat Kenny in 15th place, and Hassan Itani in 16th place.