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Bible Hill sprinter to follow in mom’s footsteps at national track and field meet

Natasha Gray says her family is proud of Braden and what he has accomplished in track and field, both at the school and club levels. Next month Braden will compete at Legion youth nationals for the second time. He will run the 100m and 400m events. He will follow in his mom’s footsteps, as Natasha attended the 1986 Legion national event in Sudbury, Ont., where she competed in the 200m, 400m and 4x100m relay.
Natasha Gray says her family is proud of Braden and what he has accomplished in track and field, both at the school and club levels. Next month Braden will compete at Legion youth nationals for the second time. He will run the 100m and 400m events. He will follow in his mom’s footsteps, as Natasha attended the 1986 Legion national event in Sudbury, Ont., where she competed in the 200m, 400m and 4x100m relay. - Joey Smith

TRURO, N.S. – The Legion national youth track and field championships next month in Cape Breton holds special meaning for the Gray family of Bible Hill.
Braden, a top sprinter in Nova Scotia in his age group, will attend the competition and follow in the footsteps of his mother Natasha, who was also a sprinter at the 1986 Legion national event in Sudbury, Ont.
“It’s very exciting,” Natasha said during a recent interview at the TAAC Grounds. “I always say to him it’s not about the medals – although that’s a bonus – but just the experience and the people that you meet; I’m still connected to some of the people that I met at Legions. It’s a wonderful experience, and the friendships he’s going to make and the memories that he’ll have for a lifetime.”
Braden will run in the 100m and 400m events at the national championship, set for Aug. 9 to 11 at Cape Breton University. The fact that his mom went before him isn’t lost on the 17-year-old.
“I understand the history and kind of the passing of the torch-type thing, and it’s all just very exciting,” he said.
Natasha, who grew up in Amherst, won a bronze medal at the Sudbury event in the 4x100m relay. She knows the commitment required to compete at the national level, and is thrilled to see her son be rewarded for his dedication and passion for the sport.
“I’m very proud of him because I know how hard he worked for it,” she said. “Track and field is not easy, so when you see the dedication that they have, and the determination and they actually get to see that work come to life and they get to see the benefit of it, then that’s very exciting.”
Braden, who will enter Grade 12 at CEC in the fall, made his Legion national debut in 2017 in Brandon, Man. He said he looks forward to returning and once again matching skills against some of the top sprinters in the under-18 division.
“I just want to do my best – whatever happens, happens,” he said. “They are the best in the country so it’s always very overwhelming, kind of, when you get there because you see people from different provinces … so I just want to do my best and try and get some PBs and just come home with being okay with my own performance.”
Legion nationals hold a special place in Natasha’s heart for another, more personal reason. Natasha served in the Canadian army for 15 years and understands the educational value of the Royal Canadian Legion’s sponsorship of the competition, which has been ongoing for more than 50 years.
“The last time they went to Legions, they did a tour of the war museum out there, so they get that aspect of it and understand the fights that were fought for young people to have the freedoms they have today.”
Braden is one of eight Truro Lions taking part in the competition as a member of the Nova Scotia/Nunavut team.

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