Portage's own Hailee Morisseau is off and running to the 2022 Canada Summer Games.

The distance runner will be representing Team Manitoba in the 5000-metre event, despite not taking part in the qualifying trials. Morisseau describes the hoops she had to jump through to make this dream a reality.

"I had been planning on doing the trials to compete this summer but I wasn't able to run the five-kilometre trials," Morisseau explains. "I actually ran and qualified in the 1500 metre. I sprained my ankle right before the 5km but I was well enough to run the 1500 metre two weeks later. I was then able to appeal to switch my event. I'm glad it all worked out because I'd just rather run the 5km."

Morisseau notes she hadn't done a full training session prior to the 1500 metre trials, however, at this point, she preparing at full force once again with her ankle close to being fully healed.

The Portage Collegiate graduate says long-distance running has always been her specialty. While she has been practicing some of the medium distances more recently, she still wanted to take part in the event she was most comfortable with.

Even though that is her comfort zone, Morisseau says she hasn't had many chances to run a 5000-metre race in quite some time. She adds this will be her first experience at the Canada Summer Games.

"It's definitely nerve-wracking but it's also a great opportunity. We don't always get a lot of opportunities to race competitively, especially in the distance events because they aren't as popular," Morisseau continues. "One of the reasons I haven't run a 5km in so long is because they're hardly ever offered around here. Even the 3km races, I don't see a whole lot of them and even when there are here, there's usually only a couple of people in it. So, it's nice to have big groups to run with. It's easier when there's a lot of competitors to work with and compete against."

Beyond the track, Morisseau says she's really looking forward to experiencing Niagara Falls and enjoying the change of scenery during her time there. The Portager notes it's always better to go to events like this as a part of a team.

"I've lived in Manitoba for the majority of my life, and I'm always happy to represent it," Morisseau continues. "In some of the track events, we have a smaller team compared to other provinces. So, it'll be nice to put forth a good showing for Manitoba."

Morisseau will be competing in Niagara on August 20 as she hopes to bring home a gold medal for her province.