Sharing a national record wasn’t enough for Bellingham 13-year old Sierra Noskoff. One year later, she shattered the mark and now holds it by herself.
Noskoff, a member of the Bellingham Canoe & Kayak Sprint Team (BCKST), paddled 1,009.32 kilometers (627.16 miles) over the six-week-long Barton Bantom Challenge. She completed the challenge on Lake Padden on June 25.
“I was pretty surprised with what I did, but at the same time, I thought I could do it all along,” Noskoff said in a phone interview. “It was a happy experience for me to beat my own record.”
Noskoff shared the old record with BCKST teammate Elena Wolgamot in 2015, when each paddled 773.17 kilometers during the challenge.
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While Noskoff and Wolgamot got to push each other last year, Noskoff had to motivate herself this spring.
“It was hard,” said Noskoff, who just completed eighth grade at Fairhaven Middle School and will attend Sehome High School in the fall. “I was kind of mindlessly paddling most of the time, thinking about nothing. We tried listening to music for a little bit, but that just distracted me.”
Noskoff said she surpassed the old record on June 11, the same day as the Bellingham Regatta, and said, “It was neat to come to the beach and have my whole team there cheering me on.”
But in the back of her mind, she said she had 1,000 kilometers as the mark she wanted to push the new record to in the final year she was eligible to compete in the challenge.
Noskoff paddled six days a week before and after school on Lake Padden during the challenge, in addition to participating in regular team practices three days a week and attending races on some weekends. On average, she spent between four and five hours a day on her kayak and averaged about 30 kilometers per day, regardless of the weather conditions.
Noskoff and a number of BCKST teammates, who are coached by Steve Scoggins and Austin Kieffer, will compete at the USA Canoe/Kayak Sprint National Championships from Aug. 3-6 in Oklahoma City.
“I went last year when it was in San Diego,” Noskoff said. “It was very hot, and it’s supposed to be hotter this year. It’s hard on our team because we’re not used to the heat and racing every day, but we’re going to be competitive.”