Track has taken Stuart Ellenwood a long way.
“I was the kind of kid who didn’t want to do too much when I was younger,” he admitted.
“But I signed up for (track and field), went out for it and ended up having a lot of fun.”
While he played some sports, mainly soccer and ball hockey, he was a self-described couch potato.
“I didn’t have the motivation to go outside,” he explained, adding that he found himself getting tired and not being very active.
But once he started running track, things changed.
“I liked it, it was fun and it was something I was good at,” he said.
This was five years ago, when Ellenwood decided he would join his sister, who was going out to sign up with the Langley Mustangs Track and Field Club.
Now 18, Ellenwood has progressed in the sport — he specializes in the 400m and 800m races — to the point that he will be running collegiately with the Simon Fraser University Clan track team next season.
And just like his introduction to track came by following his sister to the sign-up, his choice of Simon Fraser came down to family influence as well, as Ellenwood admits he was a little bit biased towards the university.
After all, both his parents attended the Burnaby school, so they were more than willing to share their memories of their alma ma4
ter with their 18-year-old son.
“Everything they told me about it, I really liked,” he said. “And I don’t like being away from home too much, so this way I can stay close to my friends and family.”
Ellenwood was also exploring schools in the United States, but ultimately chose to stay in the Lower Mainland.
Another factor was the reputation of Clan coach Brit Townsend, as well as the fact the team has some talented runners already.
“Stuart has made great improvement over the last year and I know he will be a great addition to our program,” Townsend said.
“It’s a great chance to better myself by training and competing against really strong runners,” Ellenwood said.
SFU competes against American universities at the NCAA Div. 2 level.
Kim Chapdelaine, one of his coaches with the Mustangs, expects Ellenwood to succeed as a freshman.
“He will work exceedingly hard to make a mark,” she said. “He is probably going to be one of SFU’s premier athletes.”
Chapdelaine said Ellenwood, a captain with the Mustangs, is an amazing leader because of his personality, which she described as disciplined, focused and kind.
And as for potential, once he grows into his body, Chapdelaine figures there is no reason Ellenwood can’t represent Canada.
“Everyone’s goal is the Olympics,” he admitted.
“I would definitely like to make a name for myself in the track world.”
He has competed at the national level in the past, winning silver in the 800m and bronze in the 400m at the 2008 Canadian midget track and field championships, and then placing sixth in last year’s 400m race as the Canadian youth track and field championships.
But before that, he still has his final high school season with the Langley Saints.
At last year’s provincial championships, he won bronze in both the 400m and 4×100 relay events for LSS.