Fort William runner Kyra Anderson-Morriseau won a silver and a bronze medal in the relay races at the North American Indigenous Games 2017, held from July 16-23 in Toronto.  Photo by Kristy Boucher

By Rick Garrick

Fort William’s Kyra Anderson-Morriseau won two medals, a sliver and a bronze, at the North America Indigenous Games (NAIG) 2017 in Toronto.

“I won a silver in the 4×100 metre (16U relay),” Anderson-Morriseau says. “And I got a bronze in the 4×400 metre (16U relay).”

Anderson-Morriseau says it was an overwhelming and exciting experience to compete in the two relay races as well as the 100, 200 and 300 metre races at NAIG, which was held from July 16-23 at about 16 venues across the Toronto area.

“I won the bronze first and it was scary because I was the first girl to run the 400,” Anderson-Morriseau says. “I was more nervous than anyone because I thought: ‘Oh no, if I mess it up, then we’re going to be so behind.’ But I think it was also good because I was able to fall back and rely on all the other girls too.”

Anderson-Morriseau says she ran as hard as she could during the first 200 metres of the first leg of the 4×400 metre relay.

“I could hear all my coaches on the side,” Anderson-Morriseau says. “They were all yelling for me to keep running, keep running. And then the last 150 of the 400 I started getting really tired, but I kept pushing because I saw my teammate who (I was passing the baton to). And as soon I got there until the end, I felt really good. I remember cheering for our last girl who was running and as soon as she passed that finish line, it was the best feeling ever because we had a medal. It was our first medal and most of the girls that were there, it was their first time, so I think it was a really special time for all of us.”

Anderson-Morriseau ran the third leg in the 4×100 metre relay, where she and the team won silver.

“I was more nervous because we had a lead and I didn’t want to mess it up,” Anderson-Morriseau says. “So I just put my head down and I ran until I got to the girl who had to run the final stretch.”

Anderson-Morriseau says the other Team Ontario athletes cheered them on at the finish line.

“So it definitely gives you that extra boost you need when you are tired,” Anderson-Morriseau says. “It’s unbelievable — I’ve never seen or been around anything like that before. It was a good experience to have and I’m glad I got the opportunity to go and do it.”

Anderson-Morriseau also appreciated the sportsmanship that was on display at NAIG.

“It was unbelievable how fantastic everyone was,” Anderson-Morriseau says. “Everyone at the finish line would tell you how great of a run you had.”

Anderson-Morriseau also attended other races with her teammates whenever she wasn’t preparing for or running her events.

“We would go and watch every other team compete, not only just Team Ontario,” Anderson-Morriseau says. “That was cool because you were able to see all the other amazing athletes.”

Anderson-Morriseau initially began running by herself, but after trying out for the Team Ontario volleyball team, she switched to track and began working out with other athletes and coaches at Lakehead University.

“That’s when I started taking it more seriously,” Anderson-Morriseau says. “I would practice every Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday. I would work on my takeoffs from the blocks and focus on good running form to help me even when I’m tired to keep pushing.”