Wolves runner Fiona Benson recently completed a stellar x-country season by representing Canada in a pair of international races.
On Feb. 18, she led the Team Canada Junior Women to the team title at the 2011 NACAC Championships (North America and Caribbean) in Port of Spain, Trinidad. Running a smart race, Benson moved up gradually, finished fast, and ended up with the silver medal, a mere six seconds back of the American winner. She clocked 13:59.6 for the 4 km course, two seconds ahead of the bronze medalist Maria Bernard from Calgary.
The NACAC race was a breakthrough performance for Benson. In November she qualified for Team Canada with a 7th place finish at the National Championships; in Trinidad she was the leading Canadian.
With the team win, the Canadian Junior Women qualified for the 2011 World X-C Championships in Spain on March 20.
In Spain, the Canadians faced fierce competition from the best runners on the planet, particularly the Ethiopian and Kenyan runners. Over the longer 6 km distance, Benson clocked 22:07 for 64th place in a field of 92 starters. The Canadian team ran together with all 6 runners finishing within 34 seconds of each other between 51st and 72nd place.
Benson placed 5th amongst the Canadians; she also finished ahead of 3 of the 6 Americans entered in the race.