who has raced on the international nordic ski circuit
for Canada and attended NOSM in Thunder Bay during her
time with the national cross-country ski program stationed
there has now returned to Sudbury (she is a graduate of
Lo-Ellen Park Secondary) to work on her residency.
A native of Manitoulin Island who trained
with Track North back when she was still attending elementary
school, Vaillancourt competed for Laurentian, went on
to obtain a masters at Western and currently finds herself
working in physio-therapy in Thunder Bay, where she would
eventually cross paths with MacLean.
While they all can comfortably navigate
racing distances ranging from the 5km road race to the
half-marathon (they all could do a full marathon, if they
so desired, though it’s only MacLean that currently
has that distance on her radar – Berlin in Sept/24),
the here and now is definitely the half (21 kms), with
Crocker having raced in Victoria on Sunday (time of 1:23:26
- 9th place) and the remaining trio set for the Toronto
Waterfront races this weekend.
“They all came from a different
starting plane,” noted Jermyn. “Their workouts
tend to be common but we change the volume on the workouts
as required. They definitely have four different mileage
plans; they all run a different volume per week.”
Ironically, all three women are amazingly
in sync when it comes to their projected times, all looking
at a range of perhaps 1:20:00 to 1:25:00 or so while Beland
is targeting a sub 1:08:00 next week in the GTA.
“These are fast runners,”
In fact, part of the challenge from the
standpoint of the man providing some direction comes in
terms of pulling in the reins on race day, just a little.
“They have to commit to a pace in the first half
of the race that to them will feel a little slow or too
easy,” said Jermyn. “Because it’s such
a long race, you really do want to be bang on with your
“Hitting that pace is critical,
feeling comfortable there so that in the second half of
the race, if you do feel good, you can actually pick it
While there is many a reason that Jermyn
is passionate about coaching, his fascination with all
that allows his current quartet and so many others to
log the kind of mileage required to rank among the top
30 or 40 in the country makes the CAMEL Caravan something
of a case study for super-accommodating local man.
“Finding an efficient running gait
is one of my areas of expertise,” said Jermyn. “They
have all run competitively now for about 15 years with
a lot of miles underneath them. Your stride pattern changes
dramatically over that time. You naturally get more efficient
with those kind of miles.”
Some more than others.
“Alannah is like watching a metronome
– she is so smooth and so efficient when she runs,”
Jermyn noted. “And running a half is so much different
than running a 1500m race. You have a much different turnover,
you don’t need that high knee drive.”
That actually sounds nothing like a camel,
in my books anyways.
“As it turns out, a camel is a great
metaphor for this group,” said Jermyn with a laugh,
acknowledging that the genesis of the acronym was simply
some backyard scribbling as he meandered his way through
the notes of training times and projected workouts.
“I don’t know much about camels,
but when I researched it, I found out that they can run
30 or 40 miles with very little water. And they spit as
lot, as Megan pointed out.”
This kind of banter is also a key part
of the mix, part of the reason why Jermyn continues to
invest the time, even with all that a full-time career
at HSN and his coaching role at Laurentian already entail.
“I’m a running geek,”
he said of his fascination to plot the ideal training
schedule. “They need some guidance – but they
are very independent and they always put the work in.”
“And they are really good people.
I get a lot of joy of working with them.”
Who would have thought the camel was that