Woman of Influence: Q & A with cross-country star Jessica Pearo


[img_inline align=”right” src=”http://padnws01.mcmaster.ca/images/pearoinfluence.jpg” caption=”Four time OUA All-Star and Canadian Interuniversity Sport All-Canadian Jessica Pearo has been named a Woman of Influence by OUA. She will be honoured at a luncheon being held March 2 in Toronto. Photo by Cameron Dunlop.”]

var addthis_config = {
data_track_clickback: true

Cross-country runner Jessica Pearo has been named one of the top female scholar-
athletes in the province.

The four time OUA All-Star and Canadian Interuniversity Sport All-Canadian will be
honoured as a Woman of Influence by Ontario University Athletics at a luncheon being
held March 2 in Toronto.

One of McMaster's most outstanding cross-country runners, Pearo has been named a
University MVP three times. This year she captured the OUA championship, beating the
field by 13 seconds, and went on to win the CIS national championship, capping off a
perfect five-race season.

A native of Richmond Hill, Ont., Pearo was awarded the female student-athlete
community service award in 2009 and has worked with the Terry Fox run and the
Salvation Army. She has also maintained the Queen Elizabeth II Aiming for the Top
Scholarship over her four years at McMaster.

Q: What is your proudest academic achievement?

A: I have been named Academic All-Canadian for three consecutive years.

Q: What is your proudest athletic achievement?

A: I think it is a tie between winning the CIS National Championships and
Canada at the 2010 World University Cross-Country Championships.

Q: What is your most memorable community-related moment?

A: Working for the Salvation Army Christmas Family Services Campaign. Every year
volunteer for several hours on a kettle shift and in 2008, I helped with the distribution
of toys to needy families. I found it so rewarding and it opened my eyes to how
fortunate I am.

Q: What woman has most influenced you, and why?

A: The woman who has had the most influence on me is my coach, Paula Schnurr.
Being a two-time Olympian, she has the most respectable knowledge about the sport,
but she also understands the mindset of a female endurance athlete. She has been able
to counsel me through many difficult times in my training because she understands
and empathizes. She was once a student herself and understands the other aspects of
life which are just as important as the sport in which I partake in. She teaches and
demonstrates balance in life, which is the most important part.

Q: If you could sit down to dinner with any woman, who would it be, and why?

A: I would sit down with Sylvia Ruegger if I had the opportunity. She has held the
women's Canadian marathon record for several years and, having heard her speak
before, she radiates passion and love for the sport. She is an amazing role model and
also has a passion for her faith life. I found it very helpful to hear her speak of
combining the two areas of her life into one, and how she was able to draw upon
several sources for encouragement and motivation.

Q: What are your future plans?

A: As an athlete, I want to run a fifth year as a varsity athlete, and then begin my
road to marathon training. Over the next few years, I want to slowly increase my racing
distances and work my way up in mileage. As a career, I am applying to physiotherapy
and hope to one day run my own clinic and help athletes such as myself.

Tickets for the Women of Influence luncheon, which features guest speaker and
star Venus Williams, are still


Stay connected

src=”http://dailynews.mcmaster.ca/images/facebook1.gif” border=”0″>
src=”http://dailynews.mcmaster.ca/images/youtube1.gif” border=”0″> href=”http://twitter.com/dailynewsatmac”> src=”http://dailynews.mcmaster.ca/images/twitter1.gif” border=”0″> href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/mcmasterdailynews”> src=”http://dailynews.mcmaster.ca/images/flickr1.gif” border=”0″>