After accomplishing her goals of competing at the Summer Olympics and World Athletics Championships, Bracebridge native Natalia Hawthorn is ready for some much-needed relaxation time.
Hawthorn’s goal of qualifying for the Olympics was accomplished last year when she qualified for the 2022 Summer Games in Toyko. She ran in the 1,500-metre race but came up just short after bumping into one of her opponents and falling. Up until that point, she was right with the leading pack.
Hawthorn’s second goal was to qualify for the World Athletics Championships ’22 in Eugene, Oregon. That, too, she was able to accomplish. On July 18 she competed in the second of two heats in the 1,500-metres and finished with a time of 4:07.37, which was just over a second away from being good enough to see her through to the semi-finals.
“I’m always proud of leaving it all out there,” Hawthorn says of her race. “I think, at the end of the day, that’s all you can do.”
After being “caught in the mess” in Tokyo, Hawthorn says her strategy was to try and stay away from that in Oregon. “In hindsight, I wish I had put myself a little bit more in the race earlier, but there’s always ifs and buts,” she says. “You always want to do a redo. I’m happy with how I ran on the day.”
“It does feel surreal to have made both the Olympic team and the World team as they have been huge goals of mine,” Hawthorn says.
What made accomplishing her goal of competing at the worlds so much sweeter was her ability to have her friends, family, and fiance with her, unlike when she went to the Olympics. “Just having them all there cheering in the stands, and so many Canadians there, made it special to be able to share that experience,” Hawthorn says. “We work so hard, but one of the sweetest parts is to be able to go through that with all the people that supported me along the way.”
With both those events happening in back-to-back years, Hawthorn says she needs a rest before deciding what her next steps are. That break will include her getting married. “That’s the biggest thing on my mind right now,” she says.
In the next few months, Hawthorn says she will sit down and reevaluate her future.
“Thank you for all the support,” she says to those that have followed her journey, some who have been keeping track of her accomplishments since her track career started when she was a student at Bracebridge and Muskoka Lakes Secondary School. Hawthorn says the “hometown love” she gets every time she competes is a special feeling.