Local Athlete Seeks Help To Clear Obstacles

Sunday June 1st, 2014

Posted at 12:00pm

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Francophone Games 2013, Nice, France

Looking to clear some hurdles, a local athlete is reaching out for support.

Enjoying success in University, 26-year-old Noelle Montcalm now hopes to represent Canada at the Commonwealth Games. While her ability to clear objects on the track makes the young-adult a contender, having the financial support she needs is an even bigger challenge.

“Most everything is out of my own pocket,” said Montcalm. “Things I have to pay for include travel and accommodations, training camps, competition entry fees, training and competition shoes, club membership fees, therapy and nutrition. This is all in addition to living expenses: housing, car, gas and insurance. Worrying about how I will pay for different aspects of my training creates stress and takes away from my training and performance on the track.”

Complicating matters is how many important competitions Montcalm must compete in before national championships. Her progress dictates the number she must participate in, but it becomes difficult to set a schedule at the start of the season with limited funds. It’s also hard for Montcalm and her coach when training since they don’t know how many events she’ll take part in during the qualifying time period.

To keep people posted on her progress and meet her financial goals, Montcalm tried killing two birds with one stone. The athlete has created a fundraising page with perks ranging in price from a simple shout-out to a one on one conversation about training and more. Anonymous donations are also welcome.

While its already given her a boost, Montcalm hopes the generosity continues.

“The support allows me to continue to train and work toward my goals,” she said. “It is also important to note that every contributor is part of my journey, because without the support I would not be able to continue training and competing. The point of the interactive fundraiser with the perks I am offering is to keep my supporters involved and allow me to share the journey with them.”

As far as journeys go, Montcalm has already come a long way. Involved in track outside of school since she was 12-years-old, the Windsor-native was introduced to a local club team by a family member. While the team atmosphere attracted her, Montcalm loves the individuality and that she’s responsible for her own performance.

Continuing in track, the athlete caught on quick in the 400m hurdles. After only starting in the event two-years-ago, she represented Canada four times in the 2013 season: Montcalm competed at the Penn Relays, International University Sports Federation (FISU) World University Student Games, World Championships, and the Francophone Games. Most important to her however, was being named top student athlete twice while at the University of Windsor. This symbolized her success both in sports and academics.

Deciding to compete full-time after graduating, Montcalm admits there was an adjustment period. Despite her new challenges though, she also noticed some similarities and received a lot of support.

“When I decided last year after graduating that I would train full time for the sport, it was a big change from what I had been doing for so long,” said Montcalm. “I had always been really good at balancing both school and track, but once I graduated, it was full time track. All the choices I make are important to my success on the track. Competing for the Lancers was such a great experience as it was such a team atmosphere and every member was supportive of the rest of the team. Competing now is still very similar as I have such a huge support group that is there to cheer me on and encourage me.”

Always proud to represent Canada, she’s working hard to be at the Commonwealth Games. As with the World Championships and Olympics, an A and B standard must be met within a qualifying period. Beyond this criteria, there are only a limited number of athletes named to the team for each event. This means that, depending on when the season of championships falls, the national championships become even more important.

Luckily, Montcalm is already training hard.

“Most often I train six days of the week for three to four hours a day,” she said. “It depends on the time of the season: Right now it is competition season, so there are a few more rest days as I prepare for competition. However, all the work is not strictly done on the track. In addition to the work on the track and in the weight room, I spend a great deal of time in therapy ensuring I am healthy and maintaining my body. Rest, recovery and nutrition are also highly important to how I perform on the track.”

Even though it’s a lot of hard work, Montcalm wouldn’t trade it for anything. She feels extremely fortunate to have travelled across Canada, U.S.A. and around the world, meeting many people along the way. The athlete is also grateful for sharing the experience with her family and coach.

Speaking of travelling, Montcalm even helped to ring-in a new event at the start of May. Taking place in Indiana, she placed 5th at the first race of the Inaugural American Track League. With a spectator-friendly environment, competitive field and band playing between events, Montcalm enjoyed the experience and new approach at the sport: She also competed at another one of the league’s races in Atlanta this past May.

Having accomplished so much, it’s no surprise that Montcalm encourages others to pursue their own goals too.

“For those looking to enter competitive sport, or even recreational sport and activities, I would encourage everyone to just go for it,” she said. “Find something you really love and don’t ever let others tell you that you can’t achieve your goals. If you really put in the work and remain dedicated, your goals are achievable.”

Montcalm’s online campaign wraps-up on July 31 and those looking to donate can do so here. To keep tabs on Montcalm’s journey, check out her official website.

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