With her first-place individual finish at the Sherbrooke Open, fourth-year cross country star and finance major Meggie Dargis helped lead the McGill Martlets to victory on Sept. 29. She slowed down for a moment to talk to The McGill Tribune about her love of running.
Dargis first began running cross-country in her hometown of Trois-Rivières, Quebec, when she tried out for the cross country team in her second year of CEGEP.
“I was running by myself before, just for fun, because my mom was doing marathons,” Dargis said. “[So], I was like, why not try out?”
After that, it was full steam ahead for Dargis. After a solid first Provincials performance, McGill recruited her to join the team.
Three years later, Dargis enjoyed her best season yet. In 2017-18, she won second-team All-Canadian status and finished only a minute and a half back from first in the eight-kilometre National Championship circuit. Dargis’ work ethic is a strong factor in her success.
“I just like the grind,” Dargis said. “You’re out of breath, you’re hurting, and it’s not just that one minute of pain, it’s for a full 20 or 25. [… Pain] is unavoidable, [… so], you have to [learn to] appreciate it.”
A torn quadricep, however, has put Dargis behind to start her senior year.
“I got back here out of shape, not as good as I used to be,” Dargis said. “I wanted to be first-team All-Canadian this year, but I don’t know if that’s really realistic now.”
While pragmatic, Dargis is also a motivated competitor who immediately identified her new objective: Breaking the school record for the three-kilometre.
“Is that possible? I don’t know,” Dargis said. “[But] that’s the goal for this year.”
It is her competitive drive that made Dargis the athlete that she is today. Although she was still happy with her recent win at the Sherbrooke Open, the five-kilometre-specialist pointed to the absence of her main competitors: Université Laval, which won Provincials and placed third in Nationals last year.
“I feel like [my win has] been seen as a big accomplishment when it wasn’t really, at least for me,” Dargis said.
Dargis brings a vibrant, positive spirit to the team. She hopes the Martlets can win provincials this season.
“We run a lot of mileage,” Dargis said. “Last week, I ran over 100 kilometres. We also do a lot of hills, […] so that’s fun. I love that.”
Dargis’ unrelenting love for the sport is necessary to withstand the gruelling kilometres of training and competition—and entirely sincere. She knows it’s strange that she warms up to the song “Sucker for Pain” and laughed when she brought up ‘puke pace’—a term runners use to describe the final set of a workout, when, despite all their pain, they give it all they have.
Although she isn’t a captain, Dargis also strives to be a leader on the team by sharing her wisdom with her teammates.
“What I tell the girls before races is ‘don’t be scared to hurt,’” Dargis said. “[That’s] the mentality that you [need to] have.”
Dargis also stressed the team dynamic of cross country.
“[When] you see other people around, [you need to] think ‘I can pass this person, I need to pass this person [in order to earn points],’” Dargis said.
Dargis leads her team by example and with her wise pre-race words, but she harbours no regrets over not being a captain.
“I don’t think I would have been a good captain, but I like to cheer people on and tell them to push themselves,” Dargis said.
In her future, Dargis plans on continuing to run, pursuing a master’s degree, and, perhaps, even running her first-ever marathon alongside her mother. In the meantime, however, Dargis’ Sherbrooke Open performance shows that she’s ready to go the distance this season.
“[I’m] finally here, and [I’m] back,” Dargis said.