I didn’t make it to the provincial school track and field meet, but I did attend the Kings-West Hants District meet and part of the regional competition.
Kings County athletes did well at both, with numerous medals and top performances. The list of winners included some names becoming familiar to local readers: Marissa Walter and Britany MacArthur, to name just a couple, both of whom seem to win - or come close to it, pretty much every time out.
A new name was added to the list this year: Hilary Rawding, a West Kings student-athlete who had a tremendous year in interschool competition. Going head-to-head with MacArthur in the 800, 1,500 and 3,000-metre races, Rawding was second (to MacArthur) in all three at districts and regionals before breaking through at provincials: she won the 3,000 and was second in the other two races. Not that MacArthur had anything to be ashamed of. She won the 800 at provincials, was third in the 1,500 and fourth in the 3,000.
As for Walter, she merely won both the 100 and 200 metre sprints at all three levels of competition.
The thread that links Walter, MacArthur and now Rawding is they are all members of the Athletics East track club and train under head coach Charlie Scarrow.
As his 2006 Athletics Nova Scotia Coach of the Year citation suggests, Charles Scarrow is regarded in the track community as one of the foremost developers of track and field athletes in Nova Scotia. He routinely goes beyond the expectations of a volunteer coach, whether it is using his strong U.S. connections to obtain spots for his runners in international meets (and often driving them there himself), planning a road race or organizing a training camp.
He seeks out every possible opportunity for his athletes to participate in the best competitions, and ensures they get to no less than 15 or 20 meets a year. His passion for sport is matched only by his ability to motivate.
One of his best-known proteges, Jenna Martin, boarded at his home during high school, and the extra practice - and added exposure - combined with her own talent as a runner resulted in her being awarded an athletic scholarship to the University of Kentucky.
Charlie will tell you he feels Marissa is further along in her development as an elite runner right now than Jenna was at the same age. He is equally high on both MacArthur and Rawding.
I first met Charlie Scarrow some 13 years ago, when he was trying to establish at Cornwallis Park a training facility for elite athletes, thletics East. Thwarted in that attempt, he transferred the same name to his track club.
He has since developed space in an old factory in Bridgetown where his athletes, and athletes in other sports, can train in winter.
Charlie doesn’t make a habit of blowing his own horn, preferring to let his runners speak for themselves with their results – which they do, quite often and rather loudly.
Martin is not only forging a solid university career south of the border, she was recently named Female Athlete of the Year at the IKON provincial sports awards.
As for the three Kings County girls, one only needs to watch Walter, or MacArthur and now Rawding, run to see both the talent, the conditioning – and the potential.
If you look closely at a track meet, at whatever level, in which Charlie has athletes participating, you will see him, usually at the far corner of the track, quietly going about his business: monitoring his athletes, charting their progress and urging them on. Charlie’s runners are easier to spot. They’re usually the best-conditioned, the hardest-working, the most committed – and they’re usually leading the pack.