Sutherland Pays Tribute to Friend and Community

Sutherland pays tribute to friend and community

Darl Sutherland.

(PETERBOROUGH) The 2004 Ontario Colleges Athletic Association (OCAA) Ontario cross-country championship was on the line. Fleming College runner Darl Sutherland didn’t like his chances. Achilles tendonitis had hobbled him all year. For the third straight season, it looked as though he wouldn’t finish atop of the podium. The prospect was disappointing to say the least, as he had came second at provincials two years running. But where there is a will, as well as a future lifetime friend, there’s a chance. “We always ended up working together,” Sutherland says about Redeemer University College runner Jakob Van Dorp, who he says was instrumental in Sutherland finally winning the title. “I really felt that when I won Ontarios that he was the biggest reason for that.” Nearly 10 years later, Sutherland and Van Dorp will enter OCAA Hall of Fame together at a ceremony being held at Delta London Armouries in London on May 1. “It something that is very special,” Sutherland says about being inducted with his good friend. Back in 2004, side-by-side, Sutherland and Van Dorp made their way through the eight-kilometre race. While Van Dorp was pushing Sutherland through the pain, the two knew they couldn’t cross the finish line together. “The last kilometre was any man’s race,” recalls Sutherland, who won bronze at nationals in 2002 and 2004. “Up until that point, I was still much weaker than he was. He was attempting to pull away and was five to 10 seconds ahead but I was able to throw it into another gear, catch up, pass him, and win the championship.” Sutherland’s individual success helped Fleming win two OCAA men’s team gold and two silvers in his four-year tenure, as well as a silver at nationals in 2004. “It is a great reminder of everything we were able to accomplish at Fleming,” says Sutherland, named Fleming’s male athlete of the year in 2004. “This hall of fame isn’t just my individual effort due to the race wins and championships won,” Sutherland says, explaining that a lot of it was due to Fred Batley, Debbie Whalen and the late Debbie Van Huizen, a paraolympian and someone he greatly admired and was inspired by. “Peterborough was my inspiration and none of my goals, ambitions or dreams would have been met without this great community I have come to call home. This hall of fame award is one that the community deserves more than I.”

Article from written by Todd Vandonk on April 2, 2013