Collegiate success sets up MacMackin for Canada Games track and field trials
Nick MacMackin hopes a strong collegiate season with the University of Windsor Lancers has set him up to take a run at qualifying for Team
New Brunswick when the Canada Summer Games celebrates its golden anniversary in Winnipeg. Photo: Courtesy of Don Voaklander
My, oh my, how times flies.
It does not seem that long ago when Rorri Currie turned in Saint John's first medal-producing performance
as a track athlete at a Canada Games competition.
But it is- the calendar read "1993" when the distance runner from Rockwood Court raced to a silver
medal in the 3,000-metre steeplechase that summer at Kamloops, British Columbia.
It would be another 20 years before the Saint John region would celebrate its track and field stars at this
festival of sports. This time, Team NB would harvest a record haul of nine medals on the track at
Sherbrooke, Que., including javelin gold by Caleb Jones and a daily double by Mitch Quigg, who mined
silver in the decathlon and bronze in the javelin.
It is not a reach to suggest that Nick MacMackin and his Saint John Track Club teammates do not want to
see another 20 years pass between podium finishes at the Canada Games. In fact, no one will complain if
success is right around the corner when Winnipeg hosts the nation's up-and-coming stars from July 28 to
Aug. 13 for the 50th anniversary edition of the event.
But before all that - before our flag bearer leads Team New Brunswick into the opening ceremonies and
before our hometown favourites go for glory, there is serious business at hand: the New Brunswick track
and field trials, set for the Canada Games Stadium in Saint John from June 23-25 in conjunction with the
East Coast Games.
Competing at the scenic Tucker Park oval offers MacMackin and company a bit of a comfort zone since it
is their home digs.
"I grew up on that track ... home-field advantage," said MacMackin. "I won't have to worry about where I'm
going to find a healthy meal or where I'm going to stay or any of that stuff. I'll be home, my parents and my
family will be around and so will my friends. There are only so many Team New Brunswicks you can make
and everybody looks forward to the opportunity to go to the Canada Games - it's a big circle on every
athlete's calendar. When the opportunity arises, you want to seize it."
Bill and Patti MacMackin's son is coming off a strong collegiate campaign, which wrapped up with last
month's USports national indoor championships. The fourth-year industrial engineering major picked up a
silver medal with the University of Windsor Lancers, who clocked 7:30.39 in the 4x800-metre relay final.
He also finished fourth at 1,000 metres, fifth in the 600 metres and 11th at 1,500 metres.
Those individual performances are significant, in that MacMackin took ownership of three New Brunswick
indoor best-ever standards- his 600-metre time of 1:18.82 put the 21-year-old in the record book in both
the under-23 and senior classes, while his 1,000-metre time of 2:24.14 set a new under-23 mark.
The key between now and the trials for MacMackin and Saint John clubmates such as Atlantic University
Sport long jump champion Victoria LeBlanc of Quispamsis, distance runners Joshua Shanks of Chance
Harbour and Brady Graves of Saint John, sprinter/hurdlers Marie-Pier Cloutier of Saint John and Craig
Thome of Quispamsis and decathlete/javelin competitor Ryan Evans of Saint John is to peak at the right
time. And yes, stay injury-free. Puh-lease.
When MacMackin earned a berth on the Canada Games team in 2013, he was wrestling on and off with a
groin injury. Talk about lousy timing.
"I was glad to be there and represent New Brunswick, but I had a fairly disappointing meet," he said. "I did
get some experience that will, hopefully, serve me better this time around. It has definitely been in the
back of my mind since 2013- redemption. I am very motivated:
MacMackin has his sights set on the 800 and 1,500-metre events for the trials. If all goes well, a relay
event may also be in his game plan. He will continue his studies this summer in Windsor, with work and
training part of his regimen. It's one day at a time and one step at a time as he inches toward his June
date with destiny.
"That is my focus,• he said. "I want to do well at the trials- the goal is to compete for New Brunswick and
hopefully, contend for a medal at the games. You never know what's going to happen with injuries or who's
going to show up and step up when the day comes. I am confident, but as one of my former coaches,
Dennis Farrell, used to say, 'respect all but fear none.'
"I'm in the best shape of my life and I'm really glad just to be competing again and not having to deal with
injuries. For the most part, running is running. The main difference has to do with the larger outdoor tracks
-the turns aren't as tight and it allows you to run faster. But you also have to factor in weather conditions.
The indoor season has set me up nicely for the outdoor season and I'm looking forward to this summer."
And maybe, perhaps maybe, getting his redemption. Just a bit.
Ron Barry Former managing editor of the Telegraph-Journal
ronald .joseph .firstname.lastname@example.org