Jillian Forsey is shown in this undated photo. â Submitted photo
KIPPENS Rosie Ryan-Forsey spent a number of years trying to keep pace with Nicola Will when she was a fleet-footed runner in her prime, but she never beat the St. Johnâs runner.
âShe was the only one I couldnât beat,â Ryan-Forsey said Monday. âShe was amazing. She was long and lean.â
Will, who is now a medical writer in Quebec, proved to be one of the best runners in the country.
Forsey finds it ironic that one of Willâs longest-standing provincial records was shattered by her daughter, Jillian Forsey, over the weekend.
The 18-year-old Kippens native broke Willâs 28-year-old provincial record in the 5,000 metre with a final clocking of 16 minutes and 24.62 seconds for third place in her section at the Stanford University Invitational Track and Field Meet in Stanford, Calif. on Friday.
The time broke Willâs senior womenâs record of 16:57.3, set in 1986 in Toronto, by more than 60 seconds. It also broke Forseyâs own junior (19 and under) womenâs record set at the 2013 Canada Summer Games in Sherbrooke, Que.
Proud mom Ryan-Forsey said she was always eager to compete on the same track as Will, even though she never had the training and coaching in place that she felt would have improved her chances against some of the elite back in the day.
For Ryan-Forsey, seeing records broken is a positive thing when you see how far an athlete can go with the right mindset, training and opportunities. She also sees how records falling can be a sad moment for some.
âIf it was mine, I probably would be devastated, but knowing Nicola like Iâdo ... I think Nicola would be happy for that,ââshe said, noting Nicola took time out of her schedule to watch Jillian race at the Summer Games.
The Forseys actually got to spend some time with Will last summer at an awards banquet in St. Johnâs. It was a chance for the two to catch up and also an opportunity for Jillianâs future to come up.
âI just said to (Will) I hope some day Jillian can be as good as she is and she said, âOh, Rosie, sheâs always there,ââ she said of the encounter. âA year later, Jillian beats her 28-year standing record.â
Will is the daughter of St. Johnâs distance runner-coach Ray Will, who just happened to be play a role in grooming Forsey at the provincial level for three years before she graduated from high school and joined the West Virginia University Mountaineers in September.
âNo,ââRay Will said from St. Phillips on Monday when asked if he was surprised his daughterâs record had fallen. â(Forsey) is a very talented girl.â
When his daughter set the record, not very many came close to challenging her other than Kate (Vaughan) Bazeley, who now lives in Corner Brook.
âShe got quite close to quite a few of Nicolaâs records actually, but she never quite made it,ââRay Will said.
Will, who still has a number of elite distance runners under his tutelage on the east coast, wasnât prepared to make any predictions about Forseyâs potential for future greatness, but was quick to point out that Forseyâs rĂ©sumĂ© speaks volumes about her ability to compete with the elite in her age group.
âSheâs already represented Canada four times so sheâs well on her way,â he said.