Track event offers a big opportunity for local athletes
33 New Brunswickers competing in front of home town crowd at Moncton stadium
The Canadian Track and Field Championships is underway in Moncton and New Brunswick has a big team competing thanks to the home town advantage.
More than 800 top ranked athletes from 10 provinces are in Moncton and 33 of them are from New Brunswick.
Jean-Marc Doiron of Rogersville will be racing on Friday in the 800-metre event.
He says it's exciting to compete at the Moncton stadium which is where he trains.
"It's really special to have this big of an event right at home," he said.
Doiron is a graduate from the University of Moncton. This is his fourth Canadian championships but his first at home.
"Just to have the home support will be great and all my friends that are never able to see me — they always watch me online — now they'll be right here and I'll be able to see them after the race. It'll just make a whole difference," he said.
Lack of funding a hurdle for N.B. athletes
More New Brunswick athletes are competing at this championships than have in the past.
Steve LeBlanc, the director of high performance with Athletics New Brunswick, says the reality is that athletes often can't afford the travel even though they have qualified to compete.
"For example, last year in Calgary, we had seven athletes competing, whereas this year we have 33. So a lot of our athletes it's sometimes a financial decision on whether you go to a championships or not."
Jérémie Pellerin of Cogagne says having the chance to race with the best in the world is a huge opportunity.
This is the first time he has competed at the Canadian championships and Pellerin says he is looking forward to racing against olympian Cam Levins in the 5,000-metre race on Saturday.
"He might be just a little bit faster than me," said Pellerin with a smile.
"I did already shake his hand once at a Canadian Cross Country Championship and that was just mind blowing."
The Canadian Track and Field Championships wraps up in Moncton on Sunday.