As an athlete, a strong support system is crucial to success. I am very fortunate to have been blessed with an excellent group of people that are behind me without fail. I would like to highlight the various people and groups that have helped me achieve success and are helping me reach my goals.
Before any such elements as sponsorships, agents, and even coaches came into my running career, my family has been the backbone of my success. They have been behind me 100 per cent and have instilled drive, motivation and confidence into my mind from day one. I can't thank them enough for all their support. Even as I mature, the family members I have gained through marriage have also been a great addition to my support system, which makes me that much stronger. And, my husband Trent has become a major stronghold and contributor in helping me set and achieve goals. In him, I am lucky to have not only a wonderful husband, but also a great training partner, training advisor, nutritionist and physiologist.
I don't even know where to begin when it comes to mentioning all the great friends I have in my life. I have been blessed with so many impacting and important relationships throughout my life and I have learned something from each one of them. I am most grateful for the friendships I have formed with people in various paths in my life, whose support and loyalty does not faulter no matter how far apart we are or how often we meet.
Throughout my running career, I have had so many amazing coaches that have played major roles in my development as an athlete. From my high school coach, Denise Kohlmeier who offered great wisdom and encouragment, as well as my club coach Mark MacDonald who tested my drive and pushed me to achieve more than I expected. Next, to my university coach, Peter Tegen, who helped me dream big and always believe winning was a possibility. And now, to my current coach, Dave Scott Thomas, who continues to amaze me in his ability to know what I need as an athlete and to instill confidence in me by constantly challenging my strength and mind. Dave's knowledge and passion for the sport is both refreshing and motivating. But, it is not without my husband Trent that my coaching team would be complete. Trent's knowledge and passion for the sport, combined with his expertise as a doctor of sports physiology, make him a great coach. And, his experience as an athlete himself also makes him an ideal training partner. As well, since Trent and Dave have similar coaching philosophies from coaching together in Guelph previously, they work well together to formulate the best plan for me.
Whether I'm training in Europe or Canada, I am very fortunate to have great training partners in either location. While in Canada, I base out of the Guelph National Endurance Centre at The University of Guelph. The group in Guelph ranges from junior, collegiate and senior athletes that range from new runners to very elite, international-class runners. So, I get the chance to train with different runners depending on where my training is at. What's special about this group is their enthusiasm, dedication and sincerity about not only the sport, but also about life in general. I love going back and training with all of them because it's always the same electric and welcoming vibe.
While in Switzerland I have been very lucky to have found a great group that have been extremely open and welcomed me into there training circle immediately. Jean François Pahud and Jacky Delapierre are the stronghold to the group that oversees the training and racing schedule for Maryam Yusuf Jamal who is also coached by her husband Tareq. This group has invited me to train with them, which has worked out well because my husband Trent can still oversee my training with my coach Dave from Canada, and Jean François and Tareq have been able to offer invaluable advice from their own experiences. Although this might all seem a bit confusing, it is proving to work out great.
I have been very fortunate to have a group of sponsors who have been behind me and done what they can to support my athletic endeavours. These include New Balance, PowerBar, Athletics Canada and the Canadian Sports Centres. And, the latter two have been a major contributor in terms of financial carding, which is a significant aid for Canadian athletes.
All athletes can appreciate how important having good paramedical support is for top performances and consistent training. No matter where I am training, I am able to receive top-level treatment from very experienced sports professionals. At the Guelph National Endurance Centre, we have an amazing group of practitioners including Dr. Margo Mountjoy, who is also a doctor for the IOC; Marcel Meresz and Lance Dawson take care of us for massage, and Brenda Scott-Thomas is our physiotherapist. In addition, Active Release Technique is a therapy that I feel has helped me remain realitively injury-free and I have specialists Dr. Bill Dukelow of Guelph and Dr. John Vargo of Sarnia to thank for that.
While in Switzerland I thankfully can rely on Inge Van Wely to take care of me for massage and Dr. Gremion for sports medicine. And, even when I travel to the U.S., I have depended on Dr. John Connors and his physical therapy associate Gary at the U.S. Athletic Training Center who bothed helpd salvage my indoor season in 2007.