Sasha Golish on Gabriela DeBues-Stafford, one of the most remarkable Canadian runners of all time.
Once upon a time, I met this youngster who started to show some talent. This is not your usual story of a runner shining in their elementary school years, this was a phoenix rising from the ashes sometime in the early days of high school. Little did I know that I would one day race and train alongside her, come to call her a friend, but also look up to this young woman as inspiration.
Don’t know who I am talking about yet? I’m talking about Gabriela DeBues-Stafford.
She grew up with humble beginnings, attending the Toronto French School and running with her local club, The University of Toronto Track and Field Club Junior Development Program. Graduating high school and attending the University of Toronto. After her successful reign in the USports (formerly Canadian Inter-university Sports [CIS]) system), she continued blossoming, and now is running with one of the most prestigious training groups in the world, and coached by Andy Young.
All along the way there was a steady progression. Don’t get me wrong there were some dips and down moments, but DeBues-Stafford’s resilience and resolve are why she is the champion she is today.
Her 2019 season is one that young athletes dream of having. From opening up 2019 breaking the Canadian record in the 5000m with a 14:57. She went on to set a total of eight records, which will be held in the books as six, since she broke her own 1500m record twice. From Diamond League podiums to 6th at the IAAF World Championships in Doha, Qatar this remarkable young woman is making herself a household name, not just in running fan homes.
What can we all take away from DeBues-Stafford’s story:
If you want to be really good at something you have to wholeheartedly commit. It is not just about moving on to the next endeavour but diving into whatever you are doing with no second guesses.
Improvement comes from surrounding yourself with the best. DeBues- Stafford looked to Laura Muir and Gemma Reekie and saw that she could get better by joining the likes of these amazing women. Having a coach who believes in you and those you are training with is also essential.
Surround yourself with love. A quick scroll through DeBues-Stafford’s Instagram and you’ll see pictures of her husband, her sister, and all the other people that are important to her. Running is one thing, but the bonds of love are what help us rise up.
DeBues-Stafford’s story shows us that fairy tales do come true. Mix together hard work, dedication, resilience, and an internal belly fire that makes you want to be the best in the world. These values, and this story, this is what we need to show the next generation.