Athabasca native representing Canada in Poland
Athabasca native Meggan Franks, 29, is headed to Krynica-Zdrój, Poland, to run in the 29th World Mountain Running Championships this September.
Franks currently lives in Mississippi and works for Mississippi State University, where she attended on scholarship.
Franks is representing Canada in the race on Sept. 9.
She said she qualified after ranking 13th in the North American, Central American and Caribbean Championships on July 21 in New Hampshire — the first Canadian to finish the 2013 race.
“My mom is coming with me,” she said. “I am very excited, and I am also a little nervous.”
Franks said she has never been to Poland and is trying to learn the language before she arrives.
“I have been on the Internet learning simple (Polish) phrases, and I am terrible at it,” she said. “My biggest concern is how I am going to order a cup of coffee.
“I downloaded an app that you can say what you want, and it will translate it to Polish so you can actually communicate,” she explained.
Franks said this is a great experience, and as it is her second time representing Canada at an international race, she is pumped.
“I’m going to be there for six days: just enough to figure out the time change, run the race and come home,” she said.
The race will involve 25 per cent grades and will be eight kilometres in length.
“It is mountain running, and people get that mistaken with trail running,” she said. “It physically takes twice as long to run an eight-kilometre mountain race as it does to run eight kilometres on the road.”
As for how Franks started mountain running, she said it was a natural course.
“I run marathons, and I have had some success,” she said.
However, Franks injured her back, and running on pavement seemed to irritate the injury.
“It bothers me on the flat roads, but when I am on a trail or mountain, there is a lot more movement in your hips,” she explained. “The ground is not near as even, and it hasn’t bothered me.”
Franks said she thought she would try mountain running because of the similarities to marathons.
“The great thing about mountain running and marathon running is that in marathon running, you train to run when you are totally exhausted, and mountain running is essentially the same.”
Franks said the transition was good, and it turned out to be a perfect fit.
She said running has always been something she was interested in, and even when she was in Grade 5, she was exhilarated when she thought of running.
“I used to run with Mr. (Brian) LeMessurier, and we used to run the Muskeg Creek trails,” she said. “I have a three-year-old daughter, and I hope when she is that age, she can go out and run a kilometre and not be bothered by it.”
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