De Lange Finds His Redemption Narrative

Written by Matt Scace

Heading into the final 50 metres of the OUA men’s 1500m Championships, Mitch de Lange got an idea.

“I was like oh, I can win this thing,” de Lange says. “So I just kicked and yeah. Its history.”

In reality, the story of the race is much longer than his depiction of its final moments. Starting the race ranked ninth in the province, de Lange finished the first lap near the back of the 11-man heat. With the top time in the second heat running 3:53.24, de Lange sensed the pack running slower than he expected—and preferred.

“I could just tell we were slow,” he says. He was right; the first half-lap came in just over 16 seconds, and the first full lap clocked in at 32.400 seconds for de Lange. The leaders of the previous heat had run a cumulative three seconds faster at the same point.

“I wanted to put the pressure on the boys and see how the field responded. It responded accordingly.”

Since arriving in Kingston during the fall of 2017, teammates and coaches have known there was something special not just about de Lange’s talent, but his mindset.

“Hes someone whos on one hand so driven and talented, but simultaneously so chill and laid back. Its pretty amazing how he can have both of those things at the same time,” teammate Miles Brackenbury says. “He does his best to let things roll off his back, and I think that helped him a lot at OUAs.”

Since using his first year of eligibility in 2018, the results have come—but not in the form of an outright win. At the 2018 U Sports Cross Country Championships, de Lange placed 12th and came 10th in 2019, though there was a wide sentiment that a podium finish was in the cards in the latter. During the 2019 cross country season, he earned a second-place finish at RSEQ Interlock and, despite leading for the majority of the OUA Championships, placed ninth. Consequently, going into the 1500m, his last win had been at OFSAA in 2014 where he won gold in the midget boys 3,000m.

Through the middle laps, de Lange inched up the pace; his third and fourth nudged to the lower end of 32 seconds, and the fifth came in just under 31 seconds. By the sixth lap, he was jostling for the lead and put down a 29.833 second lap. Now in competition for second place and automatic entry into the U Sports Championships, de Lange took the lead.

“I was just relaxing out there, just remaining calm and let the field carry me for a bit, and decided that nows the time to go if I want to go top two,” he says.

On a normal day, de Lange’s teammates could’ve predicted him to pull it out in the final two laps. But after placing fourth in the men’s 3,000m the previous night—a race he entered ranked first—nobody imposed their expectations on him. Having gone through a week where running had been the last thing on his mind, de Lange told his teammates that the 3,000m championship was the worst run of his life.

“I was just not in the right space. I didnt prepare, didnt think about the race going into it. I didnt picture what I was going to do, what I wanted from it and I got in the race,” he recalls.

“We were cooling down and he was telling the guys that its the saddest hes ever run in his life,” Brackenbury says. “From a guy whos really steady, it was hard to see. But on Saturday when he rolled up to the place, you knew he was there to do something special. He didnt have that sad look anymore—he was just determined.”

In the second-last lap, de Lange fell a step behind the leader and appeared to be losing steam. But as the bell rang for the final lap, something clicked.

“I was on the corner of the homestretch just screaming my lungs out […] and it was right on that corner where he said,lets f***** go boys!” Brackenbury says. “He found that extra gear.”

Stuck at the hip with the co-leader, a strangely obvious idea floated into his head as he rounded the final corner.

“I didnt really think about winning until later in the last 50 metres,” he says. Coming down the final straight de Lange kicked into his last gear, crossing the finish line .22 seconds ahead of second place in 3:52.91 with his arms outstretched and a will-bending fight in his eyes.

“I wanted it to happen—I wanted it to happen so bad,” Brackenbury says. “I was going ballistic the whole way—I havent been that hyped about a race in a long time. I was extra, extra hyped.”

In what could be considered his collegiate breakthrough race, the win held significance for numerous reasons. His gold medal was the first for Queen’s men’s track since 2009, made all the more impressive given the size of the school’s program. On a personal level, it was de Lange’s first win since tenth grade. Yet, he says his motivation came from a more simple, intrinsic place.

“I was going in seeded ninth so I was just like,' Im going to have fun today.’"

“Its why I do it.”

Other Content

Endurance Odyssey Launches Run Club Kingston in September!

We are excited to announce that Endurance Odyssey will be launching the Kingston Run Club starting i…

Read more
August 20th, 2020

Fall Cross Country Season

A note from coaches Steve Weiler and Leslie Sexton We are disappointed to hear the KASSAA announc…

Read more
August 19th, 2020

PK-Kingston fall season begins in August!

We are excited to announce that Physi-Kult is open to new members as we begin our fall season in Aug…

Read more
July 29th, 2020


The 2020 OFSAA Track and Field Championships were scheduled to begin today. In their absence, I…

Read more
June 4th, 2020

Interview #15 - Melanie Myrand

Athlete Interview homepage Melanie Myrand interview by Steve Weiler, Saturday, May 30th, 2020…

Read more
June 1st, 2020

Interview #14 - Dylan Wykes

Athlete Interview homepage Dylan Wykes interview by Steve Weiler, Saturday, May 23rd, 2020…

Read more
May 25th, 2020

Interview #13 - Malindi Elmore

Athlete Interview homepage Malindi Elmore interview by Steve Weiler, Wednesday, May 20th, 202…

Read more
May 21st, 2020

Interview #12 - Colin Fewer

Athlete Interview homepage Colin Fewer interview by Steve Weiler, Saturday, May 16th, 2020…

Read more
May 17th, 2020

Interview #11 - Cleo Boyd

Athlete Interview homepage Cleo Boyd interview by Steve Weiler, Tuesday, May 12th, 2020 Ph…

Read more
May 13th, 2020

We will get through this together!

This is an open letter from coaches Leslie Sexton, Steve Boyd, and Steve Weiler to the athletes, fam…

Read more
May 11th, 2020

Interview #10 - Stuart McGregor

Athlete Interview homepage Stuart McGregor interview by Steve Weiler, Friday, May 8th, 2020…

Read more
May 9th, 2020

Interview #9 - Lyndsay Tessier

Athlete Interview homepage Lyndsay Tessier interview by Steve Weiler, Tuesday, May 5th, 2020…

Read more
May 6th, 2020

Interview #8 - Rob Denault

Athlete Interview homepage Rob Denault interview by Steve Weiler, Saturday, May 2nd, 2020…

Read more
May 2nd, 2020

Interview #7 - Audrey Giles

Athlete Interview homepage Audrey Giles interview by Steve Weiler, Tuesday, April 28th, 2020…

Read more
April 29th, 2020

Interview #6 - Matt Pardo

Athlete Interview homepage Matt Pardo interview by Steve Weiler, Friday, April 24th, 2020…

Read more
April 25th, 2020

Interview #5 - Miles Brackenbury

Athlete Interview homepage Miles Brackenbury interview by Steve Weiler, Sunday, April 19th, 2…

Read more
April 20th, 2020

Interview #4 - Victoria Coates

Athlete Interview homepage Victoria Coates interview by Steve Weiler, Thursday, April 16th, 2…

Read more
April 17th, 2020

Interview #3 - Matt McInnes

Athlete Interview homepage Matt McInnes interview by Steve Weiler, Sunday,  April…

Read more
April 13th, 2020

Interview #2 - Clara Langley

Athlete Interview homepage Clara Langley interview by Steve Weiler,  Wednesday, A…

Read more
April 9th, 2020

Interview #1 - Tim Hain

Athlete Interview homepage Tim Hain interview by Steve Weiler, Sunday April 5th, 2020 St…

Read more
April 8th, 2020