Patricia “Patty” Patten was born on December 12, 1982 in Williams Lake, BC. Her parents, Dan and Karen, moved to Bezanson when Patty was three. The Bezanson Consolidated School has always emphasized the importance of students participating in sports. Dennis Maxwell, principal of the Bezanson School, recognized Patty’s talent and instilled in her the value of hard work and the love of competition. Patty participated in all the team sports that the school offered and excelled at track and field. Following Grade 9 at Bezanson, Patty attended High School at Sexsmith where she graduated.
At one point in time, Joe Alfonso with the Shorinryu Karate Club from Grande Prairie offered karate classes at the Memorial Hall at Bezanson. Karate proved to be Patty’s sport of choice as she attended the weekly classes along with a yearly seminar and the Club Tournaments that were held in Grande Prairie. With the support and encouragement of her parents, Patty demonstrated dedication to her sport as she spent two weeks every summer in Halifax so that she could train at the National Training Camp. She was a natural at the sport and worked hard to hone her skills to be ready for the 1996 Alberta Winter Games that were held in Lethbridge. All her hard work paid off as she won the gold medal in Kumite (one of the three main sections of karate training). 1996 was a busy year for Patty as she also won a gold medal in the Alberta Provincial Tournament which meant she qualified to participate in the Junior National Competition in Halifax where she won a gold medal. She continued to participate in the Junior Nationals in 1998, 1999 and 2000 where each year, she brought home a gold medal.
Following a successful year, she qualified for the Pan American Junior Championships that were held in Medellin, Columbia. Patty was up against some very fierce competitors and lost out on the gold medal as she was penalized for hitting her opponent too hard. However, she brought home the silver medal to add to her expanding collection. She also competed in the Pan American Junior Championships in San Paulo, Brazil; Orlando, Florida and also in Vancouver, BC. She won the bronze medal in the Vancouver competition.
Patty qualified for the World Junior Championships in 1997 in Eastern Europe; however, the Canadian Karate Federation decided not to send athletes under the age of 16.
In 1999 at age 17, Patty was presented with the “Willie deWit Award for Excellence and Achievements in Sports”. What an accomplishment for such a young lady.
Patty attended the St. George College (University of Toronto) where she graduated with a Marketing Diploma. From there, she attended NAIT in Edmonton where she received her “Personal Training Certification and thus began her career in physical fitness.
She married Luke Labrecque in 2008 and the young couple settled in Wainwright, Alberta where Patty was employed as a military fitness trainer at the Canadian Forces Base. In 2012, Luke and Patty moved to an acreage near Edson where she works as a self-employed personal trainer specializing in the needs of young athletes. She has developed and implemented specialized programs for many runners who wish to maximize their potential before competitions. As well, twice a year, Patty organizes and partakes in specific retreats to the mountains.
Once again Patty put her athlete ability to the test by competing solo in the Great Canadian Death Race held in Grande Cache. The 125-km race includes three mountain summits, one major river crossing and 17,000 feet of elevation change.
Patty and Luke have two children; Danny 6 and Lucy 4.
Patty is a very talented athlete whose skills and accomplishments will be talked about and praised by local residents for years to come.
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Written by Wanda Zenner – September 2019
Info by Karen Patten
Photos courtesy of Karen Patten