Athlete Feature: Pinkerton’s Jordan Vaillancourt

Why did you start running?

I started running because I had the chance to try-out for my middle school team and I thought I might be a good runner just like my sister. She had just made the Pinkerton team and had previously been on the same middle school team that I was trying out for. I was always the first person down the field when playing other sports like soccer and lacrosse when I was younger, so I thought running might be a good sport to try.

What was it like being a Trailblazer with your sister?

Last year was and always will be my favorite cross country season, this is because no championship can ever replace the feeling of running by my sister, Ariel. Both being Trailblazers was an experience of a lifetime; an amazing opportunity that I would love to experience again. She would always be looking out for me in both races and at practices. She would calm me down before races by telling me how much she believed in me and that she would be in the same race as me going through the same difficulties. The true experience is indescribable. (More of the article after the video!)

What is it like now that your sister is no longer on the team and in college?

Now that my sister, Ariel, has gone off to college and is running for the Merrimack Warriors, things have changed a lot for me. She is no longer beside me on the start line telling me she would be with me the whole way and how much she believed in me. She made me feel comfortable racing, knowing that she was in it with me and that she had my back.  She also taught me how to do these things on my own. Now I am practicing to be a confident and strong runner myself just as she taught me to be.

What is your favorite training workout?

My favorite training workout would be any workout we do involving hills (there is no particular one) because I really like hills. I like knowing that the faster I get up them, the faster I will get to the downhill and be able to cruise down them. During hill workouts we usually just do the uphill part and work on picking up our knees up and working on our strides. I think that these workouts help me in races that have hilly courses because it’s not something that I haven’t worked with before. I feel comfortable going into it knowing that I have a plan of how to attack them.

What are some of your pre-race day rituals?

Some of my race day rituals are having peanut butter with my breakfast. I roll out on the bus before my team and I go to the start line.  My favorite, we all do our team cheer on the start line.

What do you do to calm down your race day nerves?

When I am nervous before a race, I try and distract myself because I know that I am going to try my best in every race. I don’t like getting really nervous about them. I will usually talk to the girls on my team because they make me always know what to say and make me laugh.

How has your family motivated you?

My family has motivated me in many ways. One way is that they always wish me luck (usually more times than needed). My parents always show up to my meets to help me out before if needed and to cheer me on. My brother, Garrett, also comes to my meets and screams as loud as he can while I am running by him. Obviously my sister, Ariel, would come to my meets if she could, but most of her meets land on the same days as mine.

What is your relationship like between you and your coach?

My coach, Amy Bernard (who we call Joyce), and I have a very close relationship. She always wants the best for me and my team, so for that reason she makes sure we are always working hard and are prepared for races. I can always go to her if I need help, related to cross country or not. She always has great advice for me and knows how to put me in the right mindset.candid1

She lets me go to her classroom during my study even if she has a class that period because I am either having a bad day, need help, or just because.

What advice would you give to new runners?

To all new runners my advice would be to just enjoy it because if you can’t enjoy what you’re doing, then it’s not worth your time. Once you can enjoy it, then focus on doing your best. As long as you are trying your best, then that’s all that matters.

What is your team environment like?

Our team is like a family. We all look out for each other and care about one another. We aren’t afraid to confront each other if there’s an issue, have questions or just to vent. We love having team dinners and just hanging out. It’s not always training and seriousness on our team. Our team knows when it’s time to focus and better ourselves, but we also know when it’s time to just have fun.

What has been your favorite team bonding experience so far?candid2

My favorite team bonding experience so far would definitely be New England’s last season. This was my favorite because I roomed with Ariel Vaillancourt, Ciara April, and Sadie Farnsworth. We are all good friends and now even closer. Our hotel wasn’t the greatest, but we tried to make the best of it by wearing shower caps to bed and lining our beds with towels. We laughed all night and probably could’ve got more sleep as it was the night before New England’s.

My favorite thing about cross country?

My favorite things about cross country is that you get out of it what you put into it. Meaning, the amount of effort you put into your training will show in your races and the effort you put into your race will show in the results.

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