Meet Shae-Lynn Way

Lillian Bufton

Shae-Lynn, proudly holding her torch for the 2015 Pan Am Games.
[This article ran in the August/September 2015 issue of the SCOOP.]

Shae-Lynn is 17 years old and currently attends Napanee District Secondary School. She has lived in Tamworth her whole life, and helped to bring the torch through Greater Napanee on July 3rd as a 2015 Pan Am Games torchbearer. Congratulations Shae-Lynn!

How were you chosen to be a torchbearer?

In early November 2014, I saw an advertisement for torchbearers for the Pan Am Games. After seeing the 2010 Vancouver Olympics torch run go through Napanee, I was very inspired and motivated to be part of the run this year. I sent in an application, answering different questions on why I love to run and describing my background in athletics. I also talked about my community involvement and accomplishments through the years. This year, there were 3,000 torch runners: 1,000 were sponsor chosen, and the other 2,000 were selected from applicants online. Well, more than 11,000 people applied online to be a torch runner this year, and I was lucky enough to be part of that 2,000!

How did it feel to be chosen?

It felt absolutely amazing! Just thinking how I was going to be the only one holding that flame for a short period made me feel honoured and super excited. I was constantly updating my social media pages to let my friends and family know at what time I would be running and where, just to make sure not a single person would miss out. It was a great 200m of glory and fame that I'll remember my entire life.

Did you do any training to prepare?

Knowing that the torch run was either a run, slow jog, or walk, I didn't feel very pressured to train for it. I run regularly as a long-distance runner, I’ve been part of the cross country team and track team at NDSS, and I also ran in elementary school, so it has always been an interest of mine.

Take us through what you did on the day you carried the torch.

Well I had to arrive really early to sign in and get my uniform and instructions. I was a little nervous that my uniform might be too small since we had sent in our measurements ahead of time, but instead, it was actually way too big. After I was dressed and received my torch, it felt like forever until all of the torchbearers were loaded on the bus and got going. Our parents and family members took lots of photos, and I almost felt like a celebrity. We then got on the bus that dropped off the runners only a couple minutes before what they called the "party bus" came, and the runner would start. My part of the run was near the end of the relay, and I was getting quite anxious watching everyone else getting off the bus. When it was my turn, I got off the bus at my start point where my entire family stood with big signs and cheering. They were so happy and pumped up for me! I then did my run and walked back to my family. Afterwards, we went back to my house for a barbecue and celebrated.

Any parting thoughts you’d like to share with SCOOP readers?

Never be afraid to put yourself out there. I could have been rejected but that didn't scare me. Sure, I would have been upset if I hadn’t been picked to be a torchbearer, but I could only think of how I would feel if I didn't at least try. I've put myself out there a lot in my community and at my school, and definitely know what rejection feels like because I've been there many times. I've come to the realization that you win some, and you lose some, and that's life. It's how you pick yourself up in the end and bounce back that creates character and prepares you for more opportunities.

Shae-Lynn, running the 200m relay through Napanee.