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Rae Races In Russia

Jul 29, 2013, 8:15 AM EST

Rae, left, took home the silver medal for his native Canada

Notre Dame cross country and track and field standout Jeremy Rae spent the beginning of July in Kazan, Tatarstan, Russia, where he competed in the 1,500m run for his native Canada. Rae, who was a member of the 2012 national champion distance medley relay team, finished second to earn a silver medal. The four-time All-American graduated in May, but will return for the 2013 cross country and 2013-14 indoor track and field seasons as a graduate student. Below is a picture journal of his time overseas. 

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A few weeks ago I got back from the World University Games in Kazan, Russia. Kazan is located in the state of Tatarstan, 11 hours east of Moscow. It took me four flights and nearly 24 hours of travel to get there. While this was my third major international competition, it was my first time competing overseas.

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The village rivaled that of an Olympic one, housing over 14,000 athletes and support staff. There were grocery stores, gyms, banks, salons, basketball courts, lounges and many other places to keep us occupied.

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I killed some time before my races in these igloo-like tents called the Lounge Zone. They had all sorts of stuff set-up to keep athletes occupied like TV’s, video games and ping-pong tables.

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The stadium is located right downtown, next to the Kazan Kremlin. It was easily the most picturesque stadium I’ve ever run in. The downtown location also attracted big crowds for the weekend races. Unfortunately, I raced on a Tuesday when the stadium was kind of empty.

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The race itself went relatively well. My teammate and I were the two youngest guys in the field, which was pretty intimidating. I ended up finishing in second, which was awesome considering there were Olympians and very accomplished runners in the field. If you’re interested, Fighting Irish Digital Media put together a cool recap of the race that can be seen below:

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The dining hall was pretty unbelievable. There was food from all over the world to choose from. They also had a McDonalds, which was totally free for all athletes. After trying as hard as I could not to eat too much McDonald’s before my race, I absolutely went crazy after it was over. I probably consumed 3000 calories in that one sitting alone (and gained a few pounds). That’s alright though … nothing 80-mile weeks won’t get rid of.

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After the race, we did some sightseeing around Kazan. The Kremlin next to the track was one of the first things we saw. Built by Ivan the Terrible, it’s essentially a fortified village that now houses the President of the state of Tatarstan. It kind of looked like a Russian Disney castle to me.

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My last night in the village was spent trading away some of my extra team Canada gear. There were literally hundreds of people out on the quad looking to do the same thing, so it ended up being kind of like an international market. Since we were one of the few teams sponsored by Nike and Adidas, our stuff carried a lot of weight, and I was able to trade up for some pretty cool stuff. I was able to pick up some Australian, Ukrainian, Brazilian, Kazakhstan and New Zealand gear.

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Any time you get to compete internationally is a really special opportunity, and being fortunate enough to medal makes the experience even sweeter. However, coming up short of the win makes me hungry to be back competing on the world stage over the next few years.

Big thanks to @NDXCTF for supporting me the last four years. Without my teammates, coaches, and support staff, this trip would not have been possible.

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