A delayed start to the outdoor track season did little to stall the ongoing progress of Lively native Ross Proudfoot.
Competing in his first race of the year due to a late-winter injury, Proudfoot recorded a personal best time of 3:40.33 in the 1500m race at the Speed River Inferno Track and Field Meet hosted at Guelph University a couple of weeks back.
"It was a huge surprise, given that it was my first race out," noted Proudfoot, in town this past week for the House of Kin Sports Celebrity Dinner. "But it was a perfect race for me, with a bunch of guys who kind of broke out a little bit earlier this season."
Proudfoot took advantage of his time in town to also help out fellow Track North runners, serving as a rabbit through 400m on June 10 at Laurentian as Brandon Belan targeted a personal best time at the 800m distance.
Coming off a successful indoor season in his fourth year with the Guelph Gryphons, Proudfoot is finding himself increasingly comfortable with the type of pace needed to truly spring him into the Canadian upper echelon of middle distance specialists.
"I feel that it's really easy for me to get back into the 3:41, 3:40 zone, given that I've been there a few years in a row," he noted. "I knew that I could get fit quick and get into it, because I've been there before."
The next step, however, will be a big one — and it won't be easy.
"Now, it's all about breaking through and getting down to 3:37 this year, to be within a second of 'A' standard for next year for World Championships, and heading into 2016," Proudfoot explained.
"I would like to run 3:38 in the near future, and then head over to Europe and look for some 3:37, 3:36 races."
Proudfoot travelled to the east coast on Saturday, taking part in a race he did not want to miss in Halifax.
From there, it's another two weeks until the Canadian Championships.
"Nationals is always a placing race for the 1500m, just based off the tactical stuff," he said. "Typically, it's who can work the least in the heats and still qualify for the finals easily, without any scares."
Although there are usually a couple of spots on the national team on the line, the impending Commonwealth Games forced an early selection, leaving Proudfoot out in the cold. Thankfully, because of his age, he still qualifies for Under 23 international meets, with the top two age-eligible finishers at nationals assured a spot in the field.
With his undergraduate degree behind him, Proudfoot has recently been accepted into a masters program at Guelph, continuing his studies there for another three terms and completing his final year of CIS eligibility.
"It will give me another year of training, and a chance to grow as an athlete."
For now at least, some time away from studies is a welcomed change.
"The summer is always nice, to have that break from school and really become an athlete for the four important months of the track season."