Leaside’s elite under 18 runner, Liam Rivard, 17, celebrated Canada Day by representing Canada in the Jamaica U18 Invitational 800 m race, finishing second with a personal best time of 1:53.24.
Liam qualified for this meet with competitors from Jamaica and other Caribbean countries by achieving the second fastest 800 m time in Canada for under 18 boys at a Hamilton Twilight Meet on May 27 with a time of 1:53.47. Only the two fastest 800 m runners were chosen for the team, so Liam was understandably excited about participating in the event.
It was “a great experience to represent Canada,” he said, and he especially enjoyed being part of the team as they entered the stadium in their Canada jackets, taking photos on the track to celebrate Canada Day and getting to know people from all over the country.
Canadian National Track Championships, held in Ottawa on July 5 to 8, followed quickly on the heels of the Jamaican trip for Liam. There he won the bronze medal in the 800 m U20 race with a time of 1:54.33, his first medal at a national outdoor track meet. His Central Toronto Athletic Club coach, Dave Christiani, observed that Liam “showed great composure in dealing with some jostling during the race.”
Other track highlights for this talented athlete include two OFSAA medals in 2017, gold in 800 m and bronze in 400 m. He was also the U18 Indoor Champion in 800 m this year and the gold medallist in both senior boys 400 m and 800 m at the TDSSAA City Track and Field Championships in May.
While Liam is primarily a track athlete, he also runs cross-country for LHS and CTAC to maintain his skill and fitness levels. In fact, he started his running career by winning a 1k race at the TDSB City Finals when he was only in Grade 1 at Northlea – and achieved the same result for several more years while also playing high level soccer and hockey. But when he joined CTAC in Grade 6, he quit soccer the next year and dropped down a level in hockey before giving it up last year to concentrate on his running.
Liam’s father, Richard, says his son likes “competing and rising to the challenge and always finds a way to dig deeper.” His mother, Emily, says he sets a good example for everyone in the family with his attitude towards exercise and nutrition, and that his drive inspires her, even on bad days.
Coach Christiani describes Liam as a “gifted athlete who understands the need to work hard for every small gain in performance” and praises his disciplined commitment to all aspects of his preparation: workouts, strength training, nutrition and chiropractic treatments.
For his part, Liam says he is glad he was able to end the season with “two great races” and is grateful to “everyone who helped me achieve my goals this season. I enjoy setting goals in running and striving to achieve them while having fun at the same time.”