It’s been a love for more than a decade.
Next week in Red Deer, AB, Nelson’s Keiran Marchand gets to test his skills against the top athletes in the country as a member of Team BC at the 2019 Canada Winter Games.
Marchand, 19, is competing in the Biathlon event — a sport which combines competitive, free-technique cross country skiing and small-bore rifle marksmanship — as part of the eight-person Team BC squad.
“I'm pretty excited to compete and experience the games fully,” Marchand told The Nelson Daily before heading off to Red Deer. “I am hoping to be able to race at the highest level that my injury will allow and since it will be my last set of competitions for the season, I am ready to give it my absolute all.”
Marchand picked up that nagging shoulder injury during a mountain bike fall during the summer. The injury has made for a less than perfect campaign on snow.
“I’ve had a pretty up and down season as I have been dealing with a shoulder injury, Marchand, the son of Denise Uhrynuk and Richard Marchand explained. “I will be ending my season after Canada Games to get some surgery done on it.”
The season-ending surgery means Marchand will forgo competing in the final two Junior World Cups this season and Nationals, the latter being held in his new hometown of Whistler.
Marchand, who has been cross country skiing since the age of two, turned to Biathlon at the time of the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver. After watching a few promotional videos, the L.V. Rogers Grad decided to take up the sport.
“It really sparked my interest,” said Marchand, who gains inspiration from his parents and sister Calena. “I keep going as the sport always presents new challenges, races are always won/lost by one missed shot.”
“The technicality of shooting mixed with the endurance of skiing makes for fun and diverse training,” he adds.
Following graduation in 2017, Marchand moved to Whistler to pursue his dream of Biathlon.
As a member of the Whistler Nordic Development Centre, Marchand trains average 17-35 hours per week, six days a week with two to three sessions per day. When he’s not training, Marchand works three-days a week as a patroller at Whistler Olympic Park.
His best finish of the year came during a North American Cup at Canmore, where he took the Gold Medal in the Sprint Competition.
The Canada Winter Games are being held from February 15th to March 3 in Red Deer. The Games features 19 sports with more than 150 events that includes 3,600 athletes, managers and coaches.
Marchand’s event schedule includes:
- Sunday, February 17 - 'Individual' - 12.5 km; Time added per missed shot. Shoots 4 times (prone, standing, prone,standing)
- Tuesday, February 19: 'Sprint' - 7.5 km. Penalty loops for missed targets. Shoots twice (prone, then standing)
- Wednesday, February 20: 'Pursuit' 10km Finish place in Sprint determines start position in pursuit (ie 1st place goes first, 2nd goes second etc) Shoots 4 times ,(prone, prone, standing, standing).
- Thursday, February 21: relay 3X 7.5km
Also attending the games with Nelson roots is female hockey player Reece Hunt and local boxer Brayden Hellekson. Hunt, a graduate of Nelson Minor Hockey, is part of Team BC U18 Female Hockey Team.
Hunt is joined by Rachel Teslak of Cranbrook as the other player from the Kootenay region selected to the squad.
Hellekson is a member of the Nelson Boxing Club.