Bradley staying on track amidst a crisis

By Don Fennell

Published 4:11 PDT, Mon May 25, 2020

Last Updated: 2:13 PDT, Wed May 12, 2021

Carson Bradley knows the difference a split second can make.

At the Canadian Inter-University Sports Track and Field Championships in Edmonton this past March, the 2019 McMath Secondary School graduate helped the Toronto Varsity Blues men’s 4x400 metre relay team sprint to silver. It was a result Bradley—who ran the third leg—hoped to build on.

Then, just as quickly, the coronavirus pandemic changed everything.

“I’m still training, albeit in a more virtual way than I’m used to,” explains Bradley. “My team has daily Zoom workouts where we continue to do circuits and stretching. And I’ve been following coach’s training plan that he sends to me. I’m running around my neighbourhood, but away from people. My focus is now on staying in shape for when September rolls around.”

Like athletes everywhere, he is hoping that by this fall things will begin returning to normal. But if that happens, and what it might look like, is unknown.

A two-time Richmond community high school male athlete of the year, Bradley’s earliest memories of track are of trying all the events at Dixon Elementary School.

“I remember it being one of my favourite parts of school, despite not really standing out,” he says. “And through high school I also ran cross-country because it was really fun for me.”

Bradley found his niche as a sprinter after winning the 100 metres in Grade 6 at the BC Elementary Track and Field Championships, an event hosted annually by the Richmond Kajaks—long one of the country’s most successful track and field clubs. 

The following season, with that first win behind him, his parents enrolled him in the Kajaks. He remembers vividly stepping up to run with the high school group and training alongside 18-year-olds, intimidating as it was.

“I think it was a critical time for me, as among many things, it taught me to overcome uncomfortable situations,” he says. “I really love the pure exertion of a sprint. You really have to give it your all every time.”

Greatly inspired and influenced by his parents, his appreciation grows daily for how they’ve fought through adversity to accomplish many things in their careers and lives. He also has great admiration and respect for Robert Esmie, the legendary Canadian sprinter who is also his former coach.

“Robert was a mentor who taught me to push beyond what I felt I could do. He taught me how to fight the urge to give up. Today, I understand how valuable his lessons were.”

When he’s not training or competing himself, Bradley is a big sports fan. Hanging out with friends to watch any of the big sports including soccer, basketball, football, rugby and hockey is a favourite pastime.

But he’s also got a studious side, one that includes keen interests in politics, business and the stock market. It’s quite conceivable he’ll pursue a career in one.

“I have some ideas of what I want to do, but I’m still exploring,” Bradley says. “I like the idea of combining stats, economics and politics in some way.”

Bradley worked last summer in Richmond-Steveston MLA John Yap’s constituency office, and the idea of one day representing the public—perhaps even running for prime minister—intrigues him.

Adhering to a disciplined schedule could definitely prove helpful.

“I try my best to go to bed and wake up at the same times,” he explains. “I always plan what I want to accomplish each day, and then do my best to execute it. Staying busy is what helps me adjust.”

And since he’s been home, Bradley has also made it a mission to keep informed about current events, to read a book every few days, and to work on honing his programming skills. While these are challenging times to be sure, Bradley believes people need to stay positive and healthy.

“Although people can do their part by avoiding others, we need to take care of our personal health by eating properly and exercising,” he says. “The healthier we are, the stronger we’re going to be to fight off COVID-19 successfully.”

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