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Jaros survives wobbly finish to win second career gold medal

June 6, 2014

By CLAUDE SCILLEY

MISSISSAUGA — For a moment, it was one of the more troubling sights of the meet: La Salle’s Heather Jaros, with about 40 metres to go in her race and a lead so comfortable it almost defied belief, wobbling, appearing as if she was about to fall, almost coming to a full stop in the middle of the track with the finish line in tantalizingly close proximity.

So great was her lead, however, the sudden misadventure ultimately didn’t matter. She staggered across the finish line to win the senior girls 1,500 metres at the 65th Ontario Federation of School Athletic Associations track and field championships at St. Marcellinus Secondary School.

“It was weird,” Jaros said shortly thereafter. “My legs went numb. I was looking down at them, watching them stepping. I didn’t want to fall.”

Jaros said at that point, she knew she was comfortably ahead, “but I was still a little worried that I was going down.” After pausing “to refocus,” the last six or seven strides, she said, were “horrid.”

“It wasn’t like I couldn’t feel my legs. I could feel my legs, and they didn’t hurt. It was just horrid trying to get them (to move).”

Jaros finished the race in 4 minutes, 27.96 seconds. Despite the difficulty, that time was less than two seconds off her season-best time of a week ago, and it was still good for a half-second victory over Claire Smith of Ottawa Glebe.

Jaros experienced the phenomenon once before, she said — “in the 800, one of the first times I ran it” — and she believes this time it happened because she broke away from the rest of the lead group too soon.

“I usually go around the 250 (metres remaining) mark, and I went long before that,” she said. “I think that had something to do with it.”

Jaros was eighth after the first 300 metres, fourth at 700 metres and still fourth when the bunch of six runners at the head of the field took the bell for the final lap. Jaros was one of four girls who took off at that point

“I saw them speed up and I didn’t want to lose touch with them,” she said, “so I was just, like, ‘Ah, I might as well just pass them now.’”

It was the third OFSAA medal of Jaros’s high school career — she’s the career leader among active local athletes — and her second gold in the 1,500 metres. Last year, she set the modern meet record in junior division and she later won the silver medal in the 800, which she will again contest Saturday.

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