Josh “Bolt” Carsience doesn’t remember how he placed in his first cross country race, two years ago as part of the Lafarge Grand Prix Series.
It might have been fifth, it was top ten for sure, but the important thing is that it wasn’t first.
“First place, that’s what I’m looking for,” he says, and the way he runs proves it.
Josh is a student at MEI Middle School in Abbotsford, as well as this year’s Lafarge Grand Prix Grade 6 boys champion. He won all four Grand Prix events this season, beating his closest competition by at least five seconds every time.
The course is a little more than a mile long over trail and grass, and Carsience’s fastest time was 6:11.07. At 11 years old, Josh is running a six-minute mile.
Josh and his mother Monica keep a scrapbook of all the ribbons and medals he’s won over the two years he’s been running competitively, and already the book is becoming very full. Whether it’s a 100-metre sprint, 800-metre dash, or a cross-country run, Josh has tried it, often winning the first-place ribbon. The book is evidence of the passion Josh brings to his sport, a passion that extends beyond simple competition.
Josh loves running because it helps in “getting my feelings out. If I was angry I would run really hard and fast. If I was happy I’d run skippy-like. I was always running.”
Lately Josh has been using his speed to make a little money on the side by delivering newspapers for the Abbotsford News. Monica carries the bundles of papers in the family van, while Josh runs from door-to-door trying to finish his 74-house route in record time. His personal best so far is 16 minutes and three seconds, but Josh is sure that he can do better.
He remembers the day his mom secretly timed him, congratulating him afterwards for his speed. “She said ‘Wow, you can run it in 23 minutes!’ Josh reminisces. “And I’m like ‘I can only run it that fast? We’ll see what happens next time!’”
They’re a veteran team now, working together to shave seconds off their record while preparing Josh for his next race. Josh admits that without his mother, he probably wouldn’t have persevered with the paper route, and Monica is proud of both her son and his hard work.
“It’s a real joy to watch him and partner with him in that,” she says. “We pray for him, pray for his future, and what he’s going to do.”
Josh runs for the Abbotsford Valley Royals, as well as in a club organized by one of his teachers, but the race he really wants to run, if he gets the chance, is a bit of a surprise.
When asked whom he most wants to race, out of anybody, Josh doesn’t even need time to think about it.
“Probably Ben,” he says.
“He whipped my butt on the first Lafarge Grand Prix [in Grade 4], and then last year he whipped my butt again coming in first, first, first, first, while I came in second, second, third, second,” Josh explains.
And second just doesn’t feel right for a boy nicknamed “Bolt”.