A natural-born runner
Published 8:36 pm Saturday, October 18, 2014
NSA’s Bergeron leaves others in the dust
Nansemond-Suffolk Academy sophomore Chandler Bergeron has been a real standout for the Lady Saints’ cross country team in her first year as a member.
Her time of 19:19.83 in the 3.1-mile run during NSA’s home meet on Oct. 9 helped her win easily, giving her four victories this year, along with two second-place finishes.
She added a fifth victory to her collection on Saturday with an 18:54 time, further validating the title she had already won of Duke Automotive-Suffolk News-Herald Player of the Week.
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Before Saturday’s race, she took a moment to consider her impressive finishes this year and had a simple way of stating that it has not surprised her.
“I really love running, and so I just thought I would do pretty good,” she said.
The answer seemed as natural as her ability.
She got a glimpse of what she could do when she had to run a mile during a physical education class as a seventh-grader.
“She came home and told us she did well,” her mother Stephanie Bergeron said.
During the summer before her eighth grade year, Chandler got an invitation from her father.
Andrew Bergeron said, “One Saturday, I was getting up, and I said, ‘Honey, why don’t you go for a four-mile run with me.’ And she goes, ‘Oh, I can’t finish that, Dad.’”
He comforted her, noting if they couldn’t finish, they’d just walk.
“And we started out the first mile, and I mean, I’m barely keeping up with her, I’m dying,” he said.
Two miles into the run, the circumstances remained unchanged.
“She’s like, ‘Come on, Dad,’ she’s just talking away, running, and finally I said, ‘You know the way home – go, leave me alone,’ and she took off.”
She made it home, and Stephanie Bergeron said, “From that point on, she’s never stopped.”
Chandler summed it up: “I went with him that one time, and then I felt good after the run, and so I started liking running, and then I started running with him.”
Andrew Bergeron said, “She got in her mind, I can do four miles, so she did four for a while, then she would come in, ‘Hey, Dad, guess what? I did five,’ then, ‘I did six,’ then she was up to 10, and then 13 was kind of what she would hit, and she would do long runs every weekend from then on out.”
Father and daughter ran in the Flying Pirate Half Marathon in Kitty Hawk, N.C., back in April. Of the approximately 2,000 runners competing, about 1,200 were female and 14-year-old Chandler finished third among females, surprising herself.
“She’s a very dedicated runner,” NSA girls’ cross country coach Karen Norman said. “She works very hard.”
She’s also very competitive.
“I usually try to stay in the front, because I don’t like when people pass me,” Chandler said. “I don’t know — I don’t like losing.”
She hopes to take her natural talent, love for running and her competitive spirit to college on a scholarship and also the Olympic Games.