It has been a special year for Pictou County native Cynthia Lays Campanaro.
Campanaro, 45, who grew up in Westville and now lives in Dundas, Ont., near Hamilton, was top female finisher at the 2017 Spartan Super obstacle course racing (OCR) event in Ottawa.
Her biggest accomplishment was finishing first in her women’s 45-49 age group on September 30 as a member of Team Canada at the 2017 Spartan World Championships Lake Tahoe.
Spartan Race Canada named Campanaro and 12 others to its 2017 Team Canada roster earlier this year for the event that attracted more than 500 athletes from more than 30 countries.
“The 2017 OCR season was by far my best yet,” she said, noting her ninth place with Spartan Team Canada, as well as Ultra Beast champion as a masters athlete and her achievements at Lake Tahoe.
She competed at the 2016 World OCR Championships and was fifth among 95 competitors in the women’s 40-44 age group in Blue Mountain, Ont.
Obstacle course racing requires an extra level of fitness that Campanaro has been able to maintain and involves outdoor courses of various distances and includes running, jumping and climbing disciplines.
She tries to enjoy the moment, do her best and not take it too seriously.
“These athletes put so much pressure on themselves,” she said. “I tell people that what counts is what you accomplish. It’s so gruelling and anything can happen, so I try to think about enjoying it.”
Campanaro said she had to decompress from the Lake Tahoe event and a chance to enjoy the majestic scenery there.
“I’m so very thankful that I was able to visit and race at this venue,” she said. “I’ve met so many wonderful folks and I’m thankful for that.”
Spartan Race has more than 170 events in more than 25 countries around the world and attracts more than one million participants to open heats at all fitness levels.
Campanaro is a high school physical education department head and offers a weekly fitness program for the school’s staff. She did her undergraduate degree work from St. Francis Xavier University and was a trainer for both its football and men’s hockey teams
She has competed in various running distances for more than 25 years and has been a top OCR competitor for five years.
Cynthia Lays Campanaro rejoices as she crosses the finish line first in the women’s 45-49 age group at the 2017 Spartan World Championships Lake Tahoe. (Submitted photo