Three Pictou County athletes will be competing at the national Legion meet in Ottawa this week. Pictured from left are Meryl MacDougall, Devon Martell and Heather Beaton. ADAM MACINNIS - THE NEWS
Think competing at a national track meet would be a bit nerve wracking? Try competing in eight events.
That's what Linacy's Devon Martell will be doing later this week as he competes at the Legion national track and field meet in Ottawa.
The 17-year-old qualified at the provincial meet earlier this summer to compete in the octathlon.
"You do eight events and depending on the time or the length of a jump or the length of a throw you get points and at the end it's all bunched together and added up so you have your final score," Martell said.
Butterflies before a major meet are a familiar feeling in his stomach.
"I get nervous before all my events," he said. "It's just something I have to go through."
Those butterflies soon fly away once he starts his events.
Competing in an octathlon actually takes some of the pressure away.
"If you did bad in one event you still have seven other ones to do good in," Martell said.
This is Martell's second time going to nationals. He went once before in 2008 to compete in jumping events.
He said it's an awesome experience.
"It feels like you're a pro, because you have to go sit in the tent for a long time," he said. "They check your spikes, check everything. You get marched around the track. It's pretty cool like that."
This year he'll be joined by two other Pictou County athletes. Meryl MacDougall of New Glasgow will be competing in the 100 metre, 4x100 metre relay and the 4X400 metre relay. Heather Beaton of Stellarton will be competing in the 4X100 metre relay, 200 metre and 300 metre.
Beaton, 15, said diet is an important part of her preparation.
She expects the 300 metre will be her best event.
"I normally do a 400 metre, but there's none for my age group so I'm doing the 300 metre," she said.
"It's really exciting," MacDougall said.
She's been competing in track since about Grade 7, but never thought about a national competition before.
"I've gone to provincials for a few years, but I didn't expect to go to this," she said.
She's been training three times a week to get ready, she said.
"I'm excited for the competition - just to be on a national stage," she said.