Glynis Sim, raised in Salmon Arm, earned individual gold on Nov. 12 at the 2022 U SPORTS Cross Country National Championships in Halifax. (U SPORTS image)

Glynis Sim, raised in Salmon Arm, earned individual gold on Nov. 12 at the 2022 U SPORTS Cross Country National Championships in Halifax. (U SPORTS image)

Former Salmon Arm runner strikes gold in tough national cross-country competition

Glynis Sim battles adversity to come up with her huge win

A former Salmon Arm runner who has been in front of the pack since she was a youth has just claimed another win, this one national gold.

Glynis Sim earned individual gold at the 2022 U SPORTS Cross Country National Championships in Halifax on Nov. 12. She led the UBC Thunderbirds women’s team to a silver medal in what UBC Communications describes as the team’s best-ever performance at Canada’s top university race.

The Thunderbird women collected a total of 50 points, a mere one point shy of the gold medallists from Laval, Quebec, while the men’s team finished fourth for a second straight season, just one point short of the podium.

“I really am proud,” UBC head coach Laurier Primeau was quoted following his teams’ performances in adverse conditions.

He said the three coaches put in countless hours to support the teams, not only for good programming and training but also to put them in a head-space to perform well on the day.

Making Sim’s gold medal run of 28:19 on the eight-kilometre course even more impressive was the fact Saturday afternoon’s competition, in fierce wind and driving rain, was her first race of the season having been kept out due to injury.

Reached in Vancouver where she now lives year round, Sim, 24, said she was off due to injury for about a month and a half prior to the race, so she had done minimal running training. She was still doing cross-training, cycling, elliptical rather than running, however.

“I wasn’t too sure where my fitness was at, but I was excited to race with my teammates.”

While cross-country running is an individual sport, it’s also very much a team sport, she said. Coming in just one point behind the gold medal team was much better than anyone was expecting, she smiled.

Sim said she definitely had doubts during the Halifax race, but it was just her and one other young woman near the end.

“It was a two-person race with about 500 metres to go. I think I was pretty confident with my finishing kick. I wasn’t too concerned but I was definitely tired.”

Although it was windy and raining, she said it wasn’t bad to run in, much warmer than Vancouver.

Sim is not too sure of her plans yet, but she would like to take a little time off, then train for running and possibly do track and field in the spring. She mused it would be good to make a Canadian national team this summer and then do some sort of international event.

“It’s great to be running again.”

The T-Birds had two women on the podium as Kiana Gibson finished with an individual bronze with a time of 28:54.

“It was a great opening race for Glynis and to pull out the win, I’m also mindful of how we handled her injury and making sure her health came before any team goals and I think that’s really important,” added Primeau.

“Kiana, I wish we could take more credit for, but she came in as a graduate student already with a lot of accolades under her belt and I’m just so happy that she’s part of our team. When she knew that Glynis won, she was as happy for Glynis as if it were herself.”

Kate Milne, another runner from Salmon Arm, ran with UBC Okanagan and helped her team place fifth.

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