Rosanna Crawford
Photos courtesy of Glen Crawford

by Katie Idle, Spartan Race Western Canada

Born and raised in Canmore, Alberta, Rosanna Crawford was cross-country skiing by the time she was walking.  At 10 she started doing biathlons and fell in love with the sport, fascinated by the combination of shooting and skiing.  At 14, Rosanna was competing in national championships and at 16 she was on the national team.   Rosanna competed in her 2008 first world youth and junior championships in Germany and in 2010, she competed in the women’s spring (7.5 km) and Individual (15 km) races at the Vancouver Winter Olympics.  “It was amazing to compete in the Olympics in your home country, with my family watching – very few people get to do that”, she says.  In March this year, Rosanna made it onto the podium with a Gold at the Canadian Biathlon Championships in Quebec.

When the snow melts, Rosanna gets out her roller skis and keeps up her cardio by running, cycling and hiking, under the guidance of her coach.  Seven of the national team train in Canmore; the other six are from all over Canada; Rosanna is the only one who gets to train on her home turf, living just around the corner from her family.

When other twenty-four year olds are out partying, Rosanna is resting and having an early night, preparing for another gruelling day of training.  She trains six days a week.   “A heavy week is twenty-four hours of training, a light week is ten and Sundays are off,” she explains.  Since the age of eighteen, Rosanna has been competing internationally.  From the beginning of May until mid-November, the team cross-trains in Canmore; the winters are spent travelling and competing.  There are nine world cups each winter, held each weekend in a different country, and one world championship.

Cross-country skiing is in the genes – Rosanna’s older sister, Chandra, won a Gold medal in the cross-country ski sprint in the 2006 Torino Olympics.  Luckily for Rosanna, her brother took another route, and is an amazing chef – so he can keep his sister well-fed and give her the fuel she needs to push her limites in training.  What does she eat?  “Protein and veggies.  I stay away from chips and sweets.” What keeps her motivated?  “I belong to a weird bunch of people who like to train really hard – and we’re so lucky to train in such a beautiful place as Canmore.  I love the scenery, the mountains, the wildlife, ” says Rosanna. “Also my goals keep me focused – I want to consistently rank in the Top 15 in the world championships.”

What does she do for fun?  Well, Rosanna has signed up for the Calgary Spartan and will be joining the Elite athlete heat.  “It’s in my backyard and a couple of friends have done Spartan races, and did quite well.  It’ll be fun!”

What’s next?  This winter, the first qualification rounds start for the 2014 Sochi Olympics … GO, CANADA, GO!

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