St. John's runner Kate Bazeley will take on international competition next year at one of the world's most competitive cross-country races.
Bazeley finished fourth in the women's race at the Athletics Canada cross-country championships in Ottawa last weekend, qualifying her to compete on Team Canada at the World XC Championships.
The World XC Championships — an international cross-country running competition — is set to take place in February in Bathurst, Australia.
The weekend's fourth-place finish also qualified Bazeley to compete in January at the NACAC cross-country championships, a running competition for athletes representing member nations of the North America, Central America and Caribbean Athletic Association.
"I'm very stoked about the result," said Bazeley. "It was one of those races, which are very few, where you actually surpass your highest expectations, so it was really exciting."
A group of 95 runners competed in the weekend's race, and to guarantee a spot on Team Canada for the World XC Championships, Bazeley says runners had to place in the top four.
Bazeley knows what it's like to outrun the competiton, having won the women's category of the Tely 10 road race for the sixth time in October. But she says she ran this race on a bit of a whim, so she wasn't expecting to do as well as she did.
Bazeley says cross-country races vary in terrain, with many courses taking runners up hills or through mud and ice. Cross-country runners have to wear spikes on their shoes for traction, she says, but she hadn't worn spikes on her shoes in four years prior to the weekend's race.
"They say don't do new things on race day and here I was," said Bazeley. "I just went on the thought of trying my best and seeing how I did."
After competing in April's Boston Marathon, Bazeley said, she had to take 10 weeks off from running due to an Achilles injury. The Tely 10 was the first race she competed in after her injury.
Although the weekend's race had some tough competition, she says she felt comfortable running and is looking forward to what the international competition holds.
"I'm really excited," said Bazeley. "I actually want to, you know, be able to train really well the next couple months or few months and perform well."