Photo by Tim Austen
OTTAWA, Ontario — Consider the pavement pounded.
The Carleton Ravens rugby team has eclipsed their goal of collectively running over 1,000 kilometers in the month of October in support of Breast Cancer Awareness month, finishing with a total of 1,285 kilometers on their final run of the month last week.
Second year prop Taylor Reid’s mother is the origin of inspiration for the team’s weekly running sessions. In late 2019 she was diagnosed with stage 4 Lobular Breast Cancer, requiring numerous surgeries to remove a cancerous mass. In the face of restrictive COVID-19 gathering conditions, Reid took it upon herself to honour her mother’s experience and better herself.
“With events for awareness cancelled due to the pandemic, I decided to create my awareness run. I based my distance on the surface area of the cancer they took out. I thought if I could step on it, tackle it, run circles around it, it would be a total of 120 centimeters square; therefore, 120 kilometers was my monthly goal.”
Reid says that her entire team stepped up to shoulder some of the emotional hardship.
“After a challenging year, I realized I could not do this without my Ravens Rugby family. As a team, we talk a lot about vulnerability. I needed them to push me through my weaknesses, push through the pain, and remind me who this is all for.”
It was more than just the athletes who took part in the running. Yes, the teammates grouped together for running sessions within their given training cohorts, but coaches and other Carleton Athletics staff laced up their runners for the cause as well. “Everyone on the Ravens Rugby team participated, including our coaches and our amazing Athletic Therapist Nadine, our team Doctor Dr. Bradley and our manager Emma. Family and friends have taken part in runs on their own time in support to get as many kilometres as possible.”
In a typical varsity season, Ravens teams have the opportunity to host their own pink-themed varsity games in support of Breast Cancer awareness. With all competition cancelled this year, this effort became even more crucial.
“With the rise of the pandemic it is easy to become isolated and forget about the strength and unity the pink games brought. There is more to just wearing the pink colored Ravens shirt – it brings unity and awareness to the cause that personally affects my family and I,” Reid says. “When my team wears pink on the pitch or on the runs, I know they respect the struggle and the importance of increasing awareness for the cause.”