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Marisha Thompson

Cross Country & Steeplechase Athlete - Under Scholarship to Florida University

Marisha's Story :

At the age of two, I was adopted by my parents. My parents have been nothing but honest with me about my adoption. For this reason, I have become comfortable talking openly about it. My
parents have allowed me to build relationships, experience the world, and most importantly they have given me the ability to feel the parent-child bond.

My mom has always been an avid runner. Growing up, I could never understand the concept of running. Who would want to run countless miles for fun? I never thought that I would be the
person going to a university abroad on a track and field and cross-country scholarship. I have one person to thank. And, that is my mom. For opening my eyes to this fantastic sport. When I
am asked about my running abilities, the line that comes up most often is “you must get it from your mom”. And, it is in those moments that my mom and I look at each other with a half-
suppressed smile on our faces. My running abilities may not be genetically passed down from my mom. But it is her I have to thank for giving me my passion, drive, and love of running.

As a child, I was one of those energetic children always running around the house and making a mess. Throughout my childhood I had the opportunity to explore all kinds of sports and hobbies;
I played almost every sport that you can think of. In Grade 9, I found my true passion: running. What I love most about running is that it grants you the ability to get lost in your own mind. I love
knowing that I can push my limits and boundaries and endure the pain that might come from it. Over the last few years, my love for running has grown and the sport of running has allowed me
to reinvent myself inside and outside of the sport.

Ever since I started running, I have had the dream to compete at a Division 1 University and represent my school at NCAA. The passion I have for running has made this goal that much
more attainable. Some people think that running countless laps around a track or running countless kilometers on a dirt road can be boring, but to me it is full of possibility. The idea of
always having the ability to improve is what makes running fascinating. Whether you have a good race or a bad race there is always something to be learned from the experience. Being a
competitive runner has awarded me many opportunities. Among those is the opportunity to build relationships. Since starting to run, I have had the opportunity to travel to different provinces and
countries and race against different people. I have built lifelong relationships with individuals I would not otherwise have had the chance to meet, had it not been for running.

During Grade 9 track, I ran the steeplechase for the first time. From the moment I conquered the first steeple barrier I fell in love with the idea of not only just running but jumping over hurdles
and steeple barriers. The idea of combining running and jumping over hurdles just makes the sport of running more appealing and exciting. Since Grade 9, I have grown as a runner. I have
expanded my horizons, running all distances from the 200 m to 10 km races and training for 21 km runs. I hope to continue running the steeplechase and expanding the horizons of my running
as I head down south to attend Florida Atlantic University on a cross country and track and field scholarship in the fall of 2020, where I will be studying health sciences. In the fall of 2018 and
2019, I placed 2nd and 3rd in the Athletics Ontario Provincial Cross-Country Championships and had the chance to represent Team Ontario at Nationals both years in the U20 6 km race. These
experiences and opportunities have granted me the determination to always work hard and achieve my goals whether inside or outside of the sport.

As a runner, community is very important. I live in a community where I have been supported in the pursuit of my goals and dreams. I spend a lot of my free time volunteering with local community organizations. Almost every Sunday you can find me at the arena working with younger children on the ice. Throughout the winter months, I volunteer my time coaching the
Norwood Queen Bees, a girl’s hockey team. Seeing a child’s face as they wave to their parents after they take their first strides on the ice is exhilarating. I love working with children because I want young children to be able to feel confident in what they do whether it is on or off the ice.