No matter how cold it gets, long distance sprinter Charlotte Gardner practices three hours a day, five days a week, hoping to shave milliseconds off her time and to someday represent Canada on the world stage.

Gardner, 24, has been running since 2013. Before track, she was a dancer and a soccer player. She says she got her speed and flexibility from these sports. When she is not on the track, she is an office assistant at a law office with the hopes of going back to school to get a Master’s. Gardner has an BA in psychology from the University of Ottawa.

She says it’s not always easy to get herself to the track. The cold weather and short days are the biggest hurdles she faces. Still, she could not imagine doing a sport that is not all year round.

 “I would not feel sharp coming back. I couldn’t imagine missing a season,” she said.

While running, Gardner focuses on getting to the next hundred metre mark and then the next.

“It’s easier than just thinking about all the workouts and runs I have to do,” she said.

The sound of poles dragging across the track cues the start of practice. It rings throughout the Louis Riel Dome in the Gloucester area calling the runners to the track.
[Photo © Jessica Mundie]
Gardner gets into position at the starting line. She is ready for a long practice. 
[Photo © Jessica Mundie]
The former dancer uses her flexibility at the track. [Photo © Malcolm Reher]
While most people are outside wearing their winter boots, Gardner is inside the dome, wearing her running shoes year round. [Photo © Malcolm Reher]
Sometimes when Gardner is working out she says she sings Lana Del Rey songs to herself.  They help her focus on something other than the burning in her legs.
[Photo © Malcolm Reher]
Gardner says her favourite part about competing is showing off all the hard work she’s done. 
[Photo © Malcolm Reher]
It is not the chilly air outside that makes Gardner’s cheeks rosy inside the dome. It’s the heavy weights and constant repetitions. [Photo © Jessica Mundie]
Gardner counts down the seconds before she leads her teammates around the track in a sprint. [Photo © Jessica Mundie]
“With other people I just focus on keeping up with them if they’re faster than me and if they’re slower I just focus on getting ahead,” Gardner says.
[Photo © Malcolm Reher]
After a long practice Gardner cools down with a barefoot walk around the track.
[Photo © Jessica Mundie]
“Whenever you see you got that half second or that second it makes it all worth it,” says Gardner. [Photo © Jessica Mundie]