“I think I’m the type of person that always has goals and takes the steps to achieve those goals,” noted Cambrian paramedic graduate and current ultra-distance competitor Chantal (Demers) Warriner recently.
“You evaluate your goals and what you have achieved over your life of being an athlete, and you see how far you can push it.”
It’s a mindset that has never drifted all that far away from the native of Chapleau, one who moved to Sudbury by the time her high school studies had arrived. “I was always that high school jock, playing whatever sport was in season.”
A product of the now defunct Ecole Secondaire Héritage on Second Avenue, Warriner ventured off to Seneca College originally, combining varsity basketball with her academic pursuits, before finding her way back home to Cambrian a couple of years later.
A three year member of the Golden Shield cross country team near the turn of the millennium, she still recalls with great fondness the time she would spend at the New Sudbury campus. “The highlight of my years there was the last year, when I did student coaching,” she recalled.
“I was working under Bob Piché, and I still hold great memories of Bob and the school, and sharing that leadership role. It was a cool experience for me. We were a very small group, an intimate group, so it had its challenges, but we managed.”
No surprise that the very driven young women would lead a group of four to five athletes all the way to Alberta, site of the very first CCAA national cross country championships. The next phase of her life, both career-wise and athletically, transitioned almost seamlessly.
Warriner can now lay claim to fifteen years of employment as a member of the County of Simcoe Paramedic Services. And while the birth of her two daughters, over the years, has impacted upon some of the time that she could devote to her remaining physical pursuits, a sporting involvement was ever-present.
Originally a devout triathlete, venturing her way up to both half-ironman and full ironman distances, Warriner would find her training stopped dead in its tracks in 2005, the result of a spinal injury suffered in a trampoline accident. There may have been questions about whether she would ever run again, though Warriner, for her part, would have none of it.
“I came back with a vengeance,” she noted with great pride. “I was a girl on a mission. When everything was said and done, I was jogging a little bit by the eleven month marker.” Resuming full training in near record time, the current resident of Barrie would find her athletic pursuits thrown another curve ball just a few years later.
“Our oldest daughter is now eight years old,” she explained. “I tried to go back to triathlons after she was born, but being an expert in three sports with a new baby was just impossible. I had always really enjoyed running the most of the three disciplines, so I dropped the two other sports and focused on trail running.”
Far off the beaten track ventures had apparently been a staple of her triathlon training regimen for quite some time. “I think I just really liked the quietness that I find in the trails,” said Warriner. “There’s no lights or traffic or honking, people yelling at you. I had a young baby, it was pretty loud in the house, I have a busy job, so it was as much about me needing some quiet times out in the woods.”
The time had come, however, for another re-evaluation of her goals. “I had heard people talking about doing these 100 mile races,” she said. “I eventually just turned the table on myself and wondered if I could finish something like that. I talked to my running coach and we developed a plan to do that. The first time around did not go so well, so of course, I had to try it again.”
Over time, the distances expanded, offering new mountains to scale, both figuratively and literally. “I ran the Bruce Trail last summer, 900 kilometers across Ontario,” Warriner exclaimed. “That was, by far, my favourite experience.”
“The previous women’s record was high 13 days,” she added. “My original goal was to target 11 days, and we adapted that when we fell behind schedule. I ended up doing it in 12 days 14 hours and 15 minutes. With the help of many people, I got the new women’s solo record.”
“I had three great core team members who really helped me achieve this massive goal. It required a lot of planning, and planning logistics is one of my favourite things with anything I do. I love thinking about all of those details and how to make this the most efficient.” It’s that part of her personality that is coming to light as she tackles another challenge, this one more administrative in nature.
Warriner has taken the lead in the organization of the La Cloche Endurance Runs, an event which combines both her love of trail running, and her love of the great outdoors of Northern Ontario. Coordinated in partnership with Killarney Provincial Park, the venture is set for October 12th and 13th (2018), with distances of 50 kms and 100 kms.
Like most who tackle these distances, Warriner has found her own comfort space in dealing with the countless hours of running. “I personally can kind of turn off my brain and go into this sort of meditating state, where I am still alert to my surroundings, but time just flies by,” she said.
For more information on the La Cloche Endurance Runs, visit the event website at www.laclocheenduranceruns.com, or contact Warriner via email atChantal@laclocheenduranceruns.com.