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Posted: April 11, 2005

Athletics: Runner's Web 20 Questions - Rebecca Stallwood

Runner's Web Athlete's profile

This month we profile: Rebecca Stallwood.

Full Name: Rebecca Stallwood
Sport: Athletics
Born (City): Burlington, ON
Current Hometown: I currently live between 
Burlington and Morgantown WV.
Age: 26
Coach: Sean Cleary
Club(s): Hamilton Olympic Club
Occupation/University: I am a certified teacher but I am currently training full time.
Sponsor(s): Saucony
Personal Web Site: N/A
Favourite Web Site: N/A

PB Times:
400M: 61 seconds
800M: 2:10 on a relay
1500M: 4:19.8
Mile: 4:44
3000M: 9:09.63
5000M: 16:05
10K: 34:50 (road race)

Favourite book: I am currently reading "The Five People You Meet in Heaven"
Favourite movie: Seabiscuit or Love Actually

First of all, congratulations on winning the National Capital Race Weekend Athletic Scholarship.

Thank you very much. I am very honoured to be the recipient of this very prestigious award.

1. Runner's Web (RW): When and where did you start competing and in what sports? At what age do you consider you became a "serious" athlete and in what sport?

Rebecca Stallwood (RS): I began competing in Track and Field in grade 6. All of my friends competed so I wanted to as well. We trained during lunch hour at my school. I actually won my first competition. It was on my birthday and after that I was hooked. I also played soccer and basketball. I took swimming lessons for many years as well. I became "serious" in grade 8 when I started to train with Phil Steel from the Hamilton Olympic Club.

2. RW: You attending university in the US on an athletics scholarship. How was that experience in the context of balancing your athletic and academic requirements?

RS: I attended West Virginia University in Morgantown, WV. It was a great experience. I could not have asked for a better running environment. Sean Cleary is the distance coach at WVU and he is actually Canadian. Our program is very individualized and he emphasizes the long term development of his athletes, rather than being concerned with scoring points at conference meets. He has never had a runner run two individual events in a conference championship and we are very fortunate to have had this. Academically I felt very prepared after finishing my undergraduate degree at WVU. I completed a Masters in Education and now I am in the process of applying to many dental and medical schools in both the US and Canada. I have received several interviews at many great institutions and I feel that WVU has prepared me well to take my next step in my academic journey.

At times balancing academics and athletics was challenging but I had tremendous support from both the coaching staff and my professors. I often had to meet late for practice or make up labs with professor on my own time but they were very accommodating.

3. RW: I understand that you plan to go back to school in the fall. How do you plan to fit your athletics program into your academic schedule?

Do you think that this will have a negative impact on your continued athletic development?

RS: I think that I will have to be extremely organized next fall. I am choosing an academic program not only based on the quality of the program but also on the basis of whether or not I can accomplish my athletic goals while I am there. I have been interviewing at several schools and it has given me the opportunity to learn what is required of the program. I have learned a lot in the last few weeks about the various schools. I now have to wait until I am accepted and then I will choose the best school in which I can meet both of my academic and athletic goals. I hope to continue to improve as an athlete. I think that I will be able to compete at a high level while in school if I am in the right environment.

4. RW: Who has had the greatest influence on your athletic career to date?

RS: There have been several people who have influenced my athletic career to date. My high school coaches and family have been great. The greatest influence is my coach Sean Cleary who has been extremely supportive throughout many difficult times. He has continued to encourage me and motivate me to reach my dreams and he has definitely been a huge part of my successes to date.

5. RW: Could you discuss your training in terms of an average week's workouts prior to racing season? Also could you review, at a high level, your macro program for a year? Do you do most of your training alone or as part of a group?

RS: Before racing season an average weeks workouts would consist of a longer interval session earlier in the week (either miles, 1000s or 800s) followed by a tempo (anywhere from 4 to 8 miles) and then a shorter track workout or hill workout depending on the time of year. The fall and winter are used to build a good base. I will try to peak for the summer track season. Depending on the time of the year my training partners vary. I do a lot of my training with Megan Metcalfe as well as some other Canadian and American women at WVU. I also have a male runner that has helped me for the past 7 yeaRS:. He has rabbited about 90% of my workouts. We have a great group of athletes to train with in WV. Everyone is very supportive and extremely positive to be around.

6. RW: What are your short-term (rest of the year) and longer-term goals?

RS: My short-term goals are to focus on the 10,000m Canadian Championships in BC in June. I also want to run a fast 5km in order to get carded. In July I will run at the Canadian Track Championships in Winnipeg and then my main focus for the summer will be on the World University Games in Turkey in August. I hope to medal in either the 5km or 10km. Long-term I want to continue to improve and to see how fast I can run. Ultimately I would love to represent Canada in an Olympic games.

7. RW: What do you consider your best race to-date and why? What do you consider? your greatest achievement in the sport?

RS: My best race to date is probably the Canadian Cross Country Championships in December 2004. It is the biggest competition that I have won and I absolutely love cross-country. My greatest achievement in the sport is probably making my first World Cross Country Team. Ever since I was very young (grade 8) that has been a goal of mine. It took me seven years to accomplish so I was extremely happy when I competed last year in Belgium. I finished 32nd at the World Cross Country Champs in 2004.

Rebecca Stallwood at the Canadian X-C Nationals)

8. RW: What do you consider your strongest attribute for racing?

RS: I think my strongest attribute is my toughness. I wouldn't say that I am extremely talented but I can work hard and can hurt when it matteRS:.

9. RW: Do you have any interest in coaching or other involvement in sport after you stop competing?

RS: Coaching has always been of interest to me. I think that it would be difficult to coach and train at the same time so I want to wait until I am done completely seriously. I will definitely stay involved in the sport in some capacity. This sport has provided me with so many opportunities, which I hope to give back to others in the future.

10. RW: Have you been tested in a lab for max VO2, body fat, etc? If so what were the results? If not, do you plan on getting tested?

RS: I have not been tested in a long time. In college I had my max VO2 tested and it was 68. My body fat in college was between 11-13%. I would like to get tested again.

11. RW: What is your favourite track meet (indoors or out) and why? What is your favourite road race and why?

RS: My favourite track meets are probably the Stanford Meets. They always seem to go well! I also really like Penn Relays…there is a lot of excitement at that meet.

I have not really ran that many road races. A local race that is a lot of fun is called the Egg Nog Jog…it is just before Christmas and after the race is finished they serve egg nog.

12. RW: Could you comment on the support - or lack thereof - for Canada's Olympic athletes in the context of financial, facilities and coaching?

RS: Canada is currently trying to increase their funding for Canadian athletes. Recently they have increased the carding spots as well as the amount of money available for athletes. I believe that Athletics Canada is trying to accommodate their athletes. This past weekend I attended a Camp in Ontario in which numerous carded and uncarded athletes attended. The camp was beneficial. Athletics Canada explained their outlook for the next few yeaRS:. They informed us that the standards will be more compatible with the IAAF for the next Olympics. It appears like the focus will be on the 1500m for the next few yeaRS: so a select few will have things much easier than the rest of the middle and long distance community (with regards to money and resources). I am still as committed as ever to making things work for me and I am not going to get caught up in all of the drama and politics.

13. RW: You recently ran in the World X-C championships in France. Could you talk about that experience?

RS: The World Cross Country Championships were held in a small town called St. Galmier. It was at a horse race track. The race itself was very different than any other cross-country meet I have ran. We had to jump logs, go over small bumps and run through manure! It was 28 degrees Celsius when we ran which affected a lot of people. I ran the short course, which is 4km. The experience was great. It was my second time and I hope to go back every year.

14. RW: To what do you attribute the overall drop in distance running performances in North America over the past 20 - 30 years?

RS: I think many are getting discouraged with the dominance of the African nations.....this is obviously more evident on the men's side of things. In my opinion many athletes that could have justified trying to see how fast they were capable of running 20 yeaRS: ago did so knowing that they could win medals, championships and set records if they stuck with it, whereas nowadays most women or men in North America realize that it is more for internal rewards as compared to external moments. Although we currently have role models such as Deanna Castor, Carmen Hussar, Emily Mondor and Courtney Babcock (as well as a few others most of us realize that we cannot run 63 at the end of a 30 minute 10km and therefore must rationalize our continuing in this sport. I personally have my reasons. Running is a love of mine and I do it because I love it. Some cannot justify continuing and much talent is lost.

15. RW: What are your feelings about the "benefits" of cross-training?

RS: This past summer I hurt my knee. I began cross-training seriously for the first time. I really think that you can improve your fitness by cross-training. When I returned to running I felt stronger than ever. Over the winter I backed off but I think that I am going to begin to incorporate it into my program again.

16. RW: Do you currently do any sports seriously, other than running?

RS: I don't do any other sports seriously. I began swimming this past fall. The triathlon has always interested me so I may attempt one someday.

17. RW: What activities do you do away from sport to relax?

RS: I enjoy cooking. I especially like spending time with family and friends.

18. RW: What is your racing schedule for the next year?

RS: This spring I will race the Pacific Series. I will also run the National 10km Championships as well as the 5km Championships. This summer I hope to run World University Games.

19. RW: Who would you consider the 10K road racer in the world right now?

RS: Paula Radcliffe has always been an inspiration to me. I still consider her to be the best road racer in the World.

20. RW: How long do you intend to compete at an international level?

RS: I would like to compete for a long time at an International Level. Leah Pells is one of my role models. She has brought so much to the sport and she is truly an inspiration for the up and coming athletes. I see no reason why women cannot run through the age of 40. I feel that if we take care of our bodies and stay surrounded by motivated people we can go on for a very very long time.

RW: Thanks for doing this. Any additional comments?

RS: Thank you very much. I look forward to seeing you in Ottawa.

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