The Athletics Project - Our Story
We were very fortunate to have one of the pioneers in our sport with us for the photo shoot for THE ATHLETICS PROJECT, Paula James. Paula has been competing in the sport for literally decades and continues to compete. Besides being an athlete Paula has taken on pretty well every role within the organization. From numerous administrative positions and official to coaching young athletes reach their full potential. A true builder of our sport, we are so glad she took part in this project.
ANS: Hi Paula, most of us only see you at the track, do you have any hobbies or interests outside of sports?
Paula: I love creating memories with my family and closest friends. I love old fashioned family suppers, making a big deal of birthdays and holidays, games nights and simple, hearty homemade food. I love bringing the people I love together.
ANS: Paula, I know you have been competing for decades, can you describe your major highlights and achievements you have accomplished during that time?
Paula: I represented NS many times and held provincial records in the 400m, 600m and 400m hurdles during my career in the 80s and 90s. I also won 9 Canadian University medals in track and field. I was so fortunate to attend Dalhousie with a group of super talented female runners. Together we won 5 national relay medals including gold in the 4x400 in 1996. I personally was a two-time Canadian champion in the 600m and was named Dalhousie and conference Female Athlete of the Year for all sports in 1996. I still run competitively and hold the Canadian indoor 5000m record for female 45-49.
ANS: What is the best piece of advice you’ve gained from coaches you have had in the past?
Paula: Best piece of advice year after year decade after decade has always been to believe in yourself, dream big and don’t put limitations or ceilings on what is possible.
ANS: Paula I wonder if you could rank the top five priorities currently in your life.
Paula: My top 5 priorities. Really this can be boiled down to just one thing. I want to be a good steward of all that I have been blessed with in life. I don’t want to waste anything. Relationships, health, knowledge, experience, talents. I don’t want to take anything I have been given for granted but share the good gifts I have been given.
ANS: Is there a coach or athlete that you look up to as a role model and why?
Paula: . I don’t believe in idols. I believe in learning everyday from the people in my life that day. Every interaction, every experience can help us grow. Even the tough tough times. We become bitter or better. I try hard to chose better.
ANS: What do you see yourself accomplishing in five to ten years?
Paula: In 10 years time I hope to still be living a purpose-driven life. I don’t want life to just happen to me or around me. I want to always be aware that my choices and my actions are intentional and have purpose.
ANS: Is there one quote or motto you follow or sums up the way you think?
Paula: One of my favourite quotes since high school is:
“I am a great believer in luck, and I find the harder I work, the more I have of it.”
Thanks so much for sharing some of the high lights of your long illustrious career . I think you are a true role model for kids and parents alike. You continue to inspire us all with your positive attitude and love for life. We see you have competed in numerous events throughout your career showing that you don’t have to give up the things you love but simply find new ways to challenge yourself and continue to do the things that motivate you.