Port Hardy Secondary School Track Club

PHSS Track Club had its first outdoor practice of the season after school on Thursday, April 7

The Port Hardy Secondary School (PHSS) Track Club had its first outdoor practice of the season after school

on Thursday, April 7, and it was a perfectly sunny day outside for sprinting around the high school track. “We

actually just started the program this year,” said Mike Cleary, PHSS Physical Education Teacher, adding the

club has seven to ten students that actively attend practices every Tuesday and Thursday, and that their first

meet is on Wednesday, May 4 in Port Alberni, where three of the students “are competing for sure.” Beth

Martineau, one of the track club students who will be competing in Port Alberni, mentioned that she really likes

the running aspect involved and that she has “always had a passion” for the sport.The other students involved

in the program enjoy the track practices for the workout, which helps them cross train for other sports. “It gives

them the opportunity to get some fitness in, work on bettering themselves, and lets them try to compete at

different levels,” said Cleary. “There’s cardio involved in track, and there’s also the speed aspect too. A lot of

these kids are working on their explosiveness and are trying to improve their running technique. A lot of kids

learn to play sports at an early age. They’re naturally fast, naturally good, but their technique isn’t great, so we

help them work on their technique to make them that much more effective.”Cleary has decades of experience

as a high-level, multi-sport athlete. He started boxing at the age of five, competed in the Golden Gloves and

had his last boxing match at the age of 17. He was also playing soccer, rugby, and community football during

that time, and “In my adulthood I played rugby at a high level around the world,” said Cleary.The Tri-Port area

has a rich history when it comes to team sports like hockey, soccer and baseball, but individual sports like

wrestling and track are a little less well known within the local communities. Participating in an individual sport

takes “more motivation,” said Cleary, adding that individual sports are really all about the “self motivation that

comes from within, you know, the drive to do it. With team sports there’s a social aspect to it that makes it

easier to get motivated. In an individual sport it’s all about you. If you lose it’s on you, and this is sort of the

same thing. While there is a team aspect to it, at the end of the day when you’re on the track it’s just you and

there’s nobody else to rely on if you’re having a bad day.”When asked what kind of success the track club will

hopefully have this season, Cleary was quick to point out that right now “they’re a bit off the mark, but we’ve just

started practicing. Their first meet is gonna be tough, there’s gonna be some nerves, there’s gonna be a lot of

different dynamics, but if they train hard and put the work in, we’ve definitely got some good athletes that are

capable of winning.”