Triple-gold medal winner keeps up her family's running tradition

Lynnisa Pasap from the Sakimay First Nation, great-great-granddaughter of Paul Acoose, took gold in three events at the Sask. First Nation Summer Games.

Lynnisa Pasap is the great-great-granddaughter of renowned Indigenous runner Paul Acoose

Lynnisa Pasap, right, took gold in all three races she was competing in at the 2017 Saskatchewan First Nations Summer Games in Regina. (Submitted by Lynnisa Pasap)

It was triple gold for Sakimay First Nation's Lynnisa Pasap at the Saskatchewan First Nations Summer Games in Regina this week. 

Pasap competed in a cross-country 3K race, while the other two races, 2K and 1,200 metres, were on the track.

"I was really nervous. I had to prepare myself — get in the right mindset," Pasap said of her first race, the 3K.

Pasap said she initially thought the 3K race would be on the track, and said she runs better cross-country because she's away from other runners and is better able to keep focus.

Despite her concerns about potential focus issues, she took gold in her track events as well.

"I actually did really good and I was proud of myself," she said. 

Pasap said she has always been a runner, saying it's a good stress reliever, she loves the feeling and it runs in her blood. Running is all about the runner, how they breathe, their destination and the path ahead, Pasap said.

"[It's] good for the soul."

Pasap, 348 in red, said she had some concerns about being able to keep her focus on the crowded track but went on to win gold nonetheless in her track events. (Submitted by Lynnisa Pasap)

Pasap said her great-great-grandfather was legendary long-distance runner Paul Acoose. She said she always heard stories about him growing up, and she has worked on projects about him, adding he is an inspiration to her.

Acoose, a member of the Salteaux First Nation, became a professional runner in 1909. Acoose defeated renowned athletes such as British runner Fred Appleby and Onondaga runner Tom Longboat.

One story that sticks out in her mind is one where Acoose, who ran in moccasins, stepped on tacks which had been thrown onto the track during a race, causing injury to his feet. Acoose still finished the race, landing second place.

"It signifies I come from a strong family," Pasap said, adding her family is a family of runners.

With files from CBC Radio's The Morning Edition