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Tate heading to Africa for Francophone Games

Mike Tate is a member of Team Canada for the 2017 Francophone Games in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, which are scheduled for July 21 to 30.
Mike Tate (right) is a member of Team Canada for the 2017 Francophone Games in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, which are scheduled for July 21 to 30. - Corey LeBlanc

A Heatherton athlete is racing off to Africa for his next competition.    

Mike Tate is a member of Team Canada for the 2017 Francophone Games in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, which are scheduled for July 21 to 30.    

The NCAA student-athlete will compete in the 5,000 m, a discipline in which he holds the Nova Scotia record.    

“It will be my first time in those Games,” Tate, who was set to leave for Ivory Coast July 18, said.      

“It will be my first senior team [for Canada], my first team that is open to all ages, I guess, and I am pretty excited to have the opportunity to compete and represent Canada.    

“As always, it is a huge honour and it makes me super excited to be able to race with ‘Canada’ on my chest,” he added.    

Tate noted it will be his first trip to Africa.    

“It will be a lot of fun,” he said, noting the length of the excursion.    

“This will be my longest trip, ever, with Athletics Canada, so that will be exciting too, and I am looking forward to it.”    

As for his goal on the track, Tate said, “I just want to compete as well as I can.”    

“I am not really sure how competitive it is – I haven’t looked into it a lot – but I just want to get that experience,” he added, noting the Games are a “multi-sport event.”    

“So, I think it will be cool to be there with other sports and, hopefully, I will be able to take in as many of the other competitions as I can,” Tate said.    

He added the Games also include artistic competitions in areas such as dance and song.    

“I would also like to look at those and just really experience the Ivory Coast and have as much fun as I can, as well as competing as well as I can,” Tate said.    

The Southern Utah University Thunderbird runner spoke to the Casket a couple days after competing in the Canadian Track and Field Championships in Ottawa.    

“It didn’t go great. I have been dealing with a bit of an injury [foot], which has been affecting my training,” he said of his July 7 effort in the 5,000 m.    

“Right now, the main objective is to be healthy, so I am being super-cautious with it. I haven’t done a lot of track work; I haven’t been running as much as I normally am, so I think that  showed [at Nationals].”    

Nevertheless, Tate described his second experience at Nationals as invaluable.    

Because of timing, the Dr. John Hugh Gillis Regional Royals’ product decided to decline an invitation to represent Nova Scotia at the 2017 Canada Summer Games.      

“I would get back from Francophone [Games] on Aug. 1 and I would have to leave for Canada Games [in Winnipeg] the next day or the day after,” he said.    

“I just thought that travel was too much; it would be a long time away … and I am still trying to get ready for cross country this fall.    

“So, with all that travel right near August, which would be when our [Southern Utah] training camp starts, I thought it would be just a little bit too much.    

“And, with my foot the way it has been, I think that it was smarter and safer to decide to skip Canada Games,” he added.    

Tate, who ran for Team Nova Scotia in the 2013 Games, will return to Utah in mid-August for university cross country training camp.

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