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Corner Brook’s Katie Thistle embracing biathlon as a way to have fun and keep fit

Katie Thistle gets in some shooting practice at the biathlon range at Blow Me Down Trails in Corner Brook.
Katie Thistle gets in some shooting practice at the biathlon range at Blow Me Down Trails in Corner Brook. - Submitted

Katie Thistle was one of those young girls who wanted to do everything while growing up in Corner Brook.

She loved to have fun and keep active.

She had fun twirling around the ice on figure skates.

She did dance lessons.

Her fix for fun and fitness today is biathlon and it’s the only thing she does on a competitive level.

She strapped on a pair of nordic skis at Blow Me Down Trails a few years back and realized it was a blast so she continued to work on her technique to see how far she could go with it.

Then one day at the local ski park, she came across a sign posted on the lodge. It was a notice that biathlon was being offered at the park and she decided it was something else she could add to her list.

“So I went up and they gave me a pellet gun, and I looked at it, and I was petrified and then I dryfired for the first time and I never looked back,” Thistle said.

Biathlon is a sport that provides her with a chance to have fun with her friends and improve her physical conditioning because the sport is demanding so she loves being on the biathlon range.

There are only a few biathlon clubs in the province and they are small in numbers, but this is something that Thistle looks upon in a positive light.

Less numbers, she figures, means more time with one-on-one training and a great opportunity to meet athletes from other provinces because leaving the island is the only way local biathletes can see how they are progressing.

While it’s a lot of fun sharing the sport with others with the same passion, Thistle also likes the physical and mental challenges that come with a sport that she believes pushes athletes to be disciplined because the sport is at the mercy of Mother Nature a lot of the time.

“You have to be fit and healthy, but you also have to be able to calm yourself down really quickly to be able to shoot,” she said.

Thistle, along with Corner Brook’s Lucas Hann, will find out how they stack up against some of the best in Atlantic Canada when they represent Newfoundland and Labrador at the 2018 Atlantic Biathlon Championships March 1-4 at the Brookvale Provincial Ski Park in Prince Edward Island.

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