WolfPack cross-country captain talks recent success, setbacks and future plans
With 12 kilometres already covered and another nine to go, Ryan Pidhirniak saw the sole competitor in front of him disappear, taking a wrong turn and going off-course. Not long after, more competition came from behind, but Pidhirniak stuck it out.
He won the 2014 Kamloops Half Marathon with a time of 1:19:15.
“It was kind of my flagship race for the year. It was the one I had circled on the calendar,” Pidhirniak said.
Pidhirniak, a third-year business student at TRU, is pleased with the progress he has made over the year as a runner.
“I must have run over ten races this year, so from January until that race I’ve just been running and training for all sorts of races,” he said.
Pidhirniak also won the Merritt Country Run this year, another 21-kilometre race, with a time of 1:24:35.
Running is a huge part of Pidhirniak’s life. He is the vice president of Kamloops Ridge Runners, a local running club. He is also the captain of the men’s WolfPack cross-country running team. All of that running put has put a lot of stress on his body.
“I just developed some IT band issues, which are very common with runners. It’s a typical overuse injury. It came on in August and I ran a race in Revelstoke which I probably shouldn’t have, because it was sort of bugging me. That hurt. It was hard to get through the 21-kilometre trail race with that bugging me,” he said.
“For a few days I couldn’t really walk up and down the stairs.”
The injury kept Pidhirniak from running for four weeks, which he said made him stir crazy.
“Yesterday was my first pain-free run, so I definitely turned a corner in this last week,” he said.
“It’s been hard as a captain to not be there running with the team. I’m there every morning at the start of practice and then they go off on their run and I hit the pool or hit the weights or the bike.”
But the injury hasn’t discouraged his passion for running in the slightest.
“We have a trip to Western Washington University, where I hope to make my season debut with the team.
“It’s a real cross country race, whereas the races that we’ll be running locally are trail races and the competition isn’t really up to our level. It’s just a way to gear up for nationals.”
The WolfPack cross country team will compete on Nov. 8 in the CIS Nationals at Memorial University in St. John’s, Newfoundland.
“It’s our first time at the CIS level. We’ll be competing against runners that will represent Canada. We’ll get a taste of what CIS is all about,” Pidhirniak said.
But he doesn’t plan on stopping there. He hopes to compete in the Boston Marathon.
“I qualified for the Boston Marathon last year. You have to run under three hours and five minutes if you’re 20 to 34 years of age. I won’t be able to go this year just because it’s an expensive trip to Boston,” he said.
“I intend to run under three hours next year at the Vancouver Marathon, and I intend to do an Ironman [triathlon]… I also have my eyes on Ultrarunning, which is anything over 50 kilometres.
“I really love running and Kamloops is a great running community. I really want to be a part of that for years to come.”