By Mark Colley
The last 12 months have been a whirlwind for Lauren Gale.
The 22-year-old sprinter was named as a reserve for the Team Canada 4×400-metre relay at the Tokyo Olympics. She ended her collegiate career at Colorado State University, finishing as conference champion in three events.
Now, Gale is headed to the World Athletics Championships in Eugene, Oregon, from July 15-24. She’s running in the 200m, 400m and 4x400m relay, and is one of only five Team Canada athletes competing in three events at the championships.
To cap it off, the Ottawa Lions Track-and-Field Club athlete will be representing Canada at the 2022 Commonwealth Games from July 28 to August 8 in Birmingham, England.
“It’s just surreal,” Gale told the Sports Pages in an interview. “Getting to cross off indoor worlds, outdoor worlds and Commonwealth all in one season is exciting.”
Gale’s pedigree is already impressive. She holds records in multiple events at Colorado State, in addition to the all-time conference record in the 400m. She ran the 4x400m relay at the World Athletics Indoor Championships in Serbia earlier this year, finishing fourth.
Now, the challenge is to tackle outdoor worlds — although the last two months have been difficult.
While competing for Colorado State in May at regionals, Gale said she got a “weird” illness that messed up her competition schedule.
“I was just kind of confused on what was going on,” Gale said. “I got super light-headed and thought I was gonna pass out. My coach was saying words to me, but I didn’t know what he was saying, so I was like, it’s probably not a good idea to run a 400m right now.”
Gale said she had blood testing done and is ready to go for worlds in Oregon.
“Ultimately, having a little break in between helped me get ready for ending my career as a Ram and going into Team Canada,” Gale said.
Another challenge along the way to worlds was its postponement. Originally scheduled for 2021, the championships were moved to 2022 to avoid conflicting with the Tokyo Olympics, which were rescheduled from 2020 to 2021 because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Gale said the postponement turned out to be a positive for her.
“Pushing back the Olympics gave me one more year of extra training, and I think that’s what got me on the team, so I think it worked out well in my favour,” she said.
Eugene, Oregon is known as the Track Capital of the World. Gale said she’s looking forward to competing at Hayward Field, which the University of Oregon calls “the nation’s most storied track and field venue.”
“I’ve never competed there before. I’ve only seen photos and from photos, it looks absolutely insane,” Gale said. “Just walking into the stadium, I’m gonna see all the lights and all the giant facilities and just be kind of star-struck.”
Under the lights at Hayward for the first time, Gale said she has a distinct goal.
“It would be really cool to run a 50(-second time),” said Gale, who set a personal-best time of 51.30 earlier this season.
HELP SHINE A LIGHT ON LOCAL SPORT! The Ottawa Sports Pages has proudly provided a voice for local sport for over 10 years, but we need your help to continue another 10 and beyond. Please donate to the Ottawa Sports Pages Fund today.