Student Spotlight: Rachel Dewan

Hometown: Mississauga, Ontario
Research Interests: Aegean Bronze Age archaeology; Minoan religion; the use of scale in religious art and material objects
Website: https://www.instagram.com/rundigsleep/

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1. What do you do outside of class/academic work?
A whole bunch of things (probably too many), but I am an avid long-distance runner and spend a lot of my free time outside, training for upcoming races, and exploring Toronto at a run.

2. How did you get started with this activity?
I have always really enjoyed running, and remember how exciting it was to compete on the cross-country team in elementary school. However, it wasn’t until I began my Master’s degree that I took up the sport more seriously. After long, sedentary days of reading and writing, I wanted a fun and easy way to stay active, get outside, and shake off the hours of library and computer work. So I would lace up my running shoes and run through the local parks. As I became more comfortable with longer distances, I decided to challenge myself by registering for local races. I’m always up for a challenge, so each time I completed a race, I looked to the next distance and kept on training. Eventually, I pushed myself to train for the full 42.2km race, and in October 2016, I ran my first full marathon here in Toronto.

3. What’s the most interesting thing about you that we wouldn’t learn from your CV/resume alone?
While my resume reflects my excavation experience and many years of digging in Greece, it doesn’t show that last summer’s work on Crete included a whole new challenge: marathon training. A fall marathon meant that the many months of training leading up to the race would overlap with my research abroad. I was worried about the heat of a Greek summer and the difficulty of combining field work with training, but starting off my days with peaceful runs through the Cretan countryside, and long, Sunday morning run explorations became some of the highlights of my summer. I’ll never forget how my first marathon experience traversed two continents and included two of my favourite countries.

4. What’s next for you?
Having caught the marathon bug, I just couldn’t lose momentum, and so I have signed up to run two more full marathons in 2017. This May I will be running my hometown at the Mississauga Marathon, and in the fall I will be heading south of the border to run the 40th anniversary of the Chicago Marathon. So when I’m not studying, reading, or digging, I’ll be running!

5. What is your favourite thing about Toronto?
Its diversity and multiculturalism! This city is a true mosaic, both in terms of its people and its urban neighbourhoods. I was born in this city and raised just outside of it, but it has been through running across Toronto’s many colourful neighbourhoods that I’ve really gotten to know all of its characteristics and quirks. The variety of communities and cultures gives Toronto a character all its own, and I see the city itself as a beautiful celebration of diversity.

6. You’re a new addition to the crayon box. What color would you be and why?
Definitely blue! A bright, optimistic ultramarine. I love that both the sky and water are various shades of blue. Plus, it’s fittingly the colour most associated with Greece, and Mediterranean blues really are striking in a different way.

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