No. 110 [Runners]

Photo by James Rogers
Photo by James Rogers

“My high school coach, we call him Coach Pi. I remember going to Illiana Christian, my high school, and [my sister] played volleyball and basketball, and they had cross-country practice around that time. I’d walk in, and I knew [Coach Pi] was the cross-country coach. He’s not a weird-looking guy, but he just kind of stands out just the way he is. He’s like 55 and wears running shorts, and he’s muscular and stuff—he just stands out. I wasn’t even going to do cross-country, and my mom just told me during the summer while they were at cross-country camp, ‘You should go [to the practice for non-camp runners].’ My mom told me to go, and I just ended up doing it. Even now, and during my whole high school career, [Coach Pi] was always doing things to make it fun. We’d play Ultimate Frisbee sometimes when heck, we could’ve been getting injured. We did football tosses and made running fun. He just did the silliest things, and at the time it was like, What are we doing now that’s stupid? It was so different in college—I like college—but it’s just different. I remember asking Coach [John] Foss when I came [to IWU], ‘So do you guys like, play a lot of Ultimate Frisbee and stuff?’ I could tell he was like, ‘Are you kidding me?’ … My whole high school career, [Coach Pi] made it fun for me, and I try to make things fun, and I like when other people try to do that. He loves running, and we took it seriously, but he was never—I mean, we had a lot of interesting personalities on the team, so the fact that he balanced all that is incredible. If you knew all of us, you’d just be like, ‘How did he deal with you guys and make you guys pretty good runners?’ He knows his stuff, and he just keeps it fun.”

No. 109 [Runners]

Photo by James Rogers
Photo by James Rogers

“A lot of people running in college won a lot of their events in high school, so that’s a big difference when they come to college and they’re like, ‘Wait, what?’ I think it’s important for people to realize that winning is important, but it’s not everything. Giving your best really is enough and the best thing you can do. And loving running.”

No. 108 [Runners]

Photo by James Rogers
Photo by James Rogers

“I trained all through the spring to get ready for cross-country for my junior year [at IWU]. In high school, I was the top guy on our team, so confidence in high school was huge for me. It propelled me to being the No. 1, and then I came here junior year, and I was all the way in the back. So that whole flip was huge for me and completely diminished any confidence I had, and I definitely struggled through that. But then I learned that [running] is more than just an individual sport, and you can be excited for other people on your team.”

No. 107 [Runners]

Photo by James Rogers
Photo by James Rogers

“My advice for someone who wants to run in college is the importance of doing the little things right. It’s something we talk a lot about here. The importance of getting good sleep, of eating well, stretching—those little things can really help prevent injuries, and they can really help long-term create your season and kind of help mold the runner you are. It also gives you more confidence knowing you did everything right. You don’t doubt yourself like, ‘Oh, well maybe I shouldn’t have eaten that before I raced today, or maybe I should have slept more.’ You know no matter what, you left everything out there.”

No. 106 [Runners]

Photo by James Rogers
Photo by James Rogers

“I’ve gone through several periods where I wasn’t running at all. About three-and-a-half years ago, I started getting an itch to do it again. The loop around my neighborhood is just over a mile, and I always had in my mind that whenever I wanted—until I was like 45—I’d be able to break five minutes in the mile. I hadn’t run a step in earnest in a year-and-a-half or so. I decided one night—I was going through some family problems and just a super stressful time in my life—that I was going to go for it tonight. I’m going to run a mile as fast I can around the neighborhood and see where I’m at. I went out there, did a warm-up lap, stretched a little bit. For 1.1 miles, I ran about 5:50, so nowhere close to sub-five. It was a super humbling moment—I don’t think I was proud of my running at that point, and I had no reason to be. It was like, Oh my gosh, if you gotta do this, you’re gonna have to really invest in it. That moment was a turning point for me. I realized that I’m not getting any younger, and I’m only going to have this time of my life to take a crack at finding out what my potential is. After that, I started taking training pretty seriously. Not even six months later, I ran 1:13 for a half marathon.”

No. 105 [Runners]

Photo by James Rogers
Photo by James Rogers

“I gave this advice to a high schooler last week, so hopefully it’s good. She’s injured and she called me. I don’t know her well, but she went to my high school, and she’s like, ‘I don’t know what to do. I’m so discouraged, and nothing’s going the way I want it to.’ I just told her that everybody takes their turn being injured. You just have to have a good attitude through it, because I don’t know anyone who hasn’t gotten injured in their running career. We all take turns being injured, and what’s going to show about you has nothing to do with your running ability. If you can just show your teammates that you have an amazing attitude even though you’re not able to compete right now, that’s going to do so much more than what you would have contributed to the team.”

No. 104, Revisited [Runners]

Photo by James Rogers
Photo by James Rogers

“Who is your biggest running inspiration?”

“I would say all my coaches combined. We may not realize it when we have them for the time being, but they definitely pour into you. They definitely put all their time and their effort into making you the best, maybe not even runner, but person you can be. I know Coach [John] Foss is big on that.”

No. 104 [Runners]

Photo by James Rogers
Photo by James Rogers

“Going into my senior year of high school, I was looking to do really well in the state—hopefully top five [in cross-country]. All of a sudden, during a race, I just feel something pop in my groin. It basically ended my season. I was optimistic about it at first, thinking, It’s not that big of a deal because it’s not even close to postseason. But it just didn’t work out to the point where I couldn’t get back to where I was the previous year. I definitely think that there was a plan that God had for me to come here [to Indiana Wesleyan], honestly. A couple schools backed off as soon as they knew I was injured, and I think that’s why I ended up here at IWU. … I definitely [questioned my future running career]. I didn’t think I was done; I thought that confidence would be an issue. My senior year track season definitely helped, putting me back on the right track to doing well.”