Collegiate Runners I Look Up To
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An Open Letter To The Collegiate Runners I Look Up To

Laps on laps on laps.

An Open Letter To The Collegiate Runners I Look Up To

As a collegiate runner myself, there are many people in my life that influence my running career. Whether that be my current or past coaches and teammates or my friends or family, there are a number of other people that influence the way I feel about running and how I go about my training and races and those people are other collegiate runners. You may not know who I am but I sure as heck know who you guys are.

These women that influence my collegiate running career include runners from division two schools and division one schools, I envy you ladies and everything you put out on the course and track.

Who are these runners that I look up to you may ask? These amazing runners include: Karissa Schweizer, Allie Ostrander, Jessica Hull, Lexi Zeis, Dakotah Bullen and Sydney McLaughlin.

Each one of you ladies have something special about you. Not one of you are the same and that's what make you unique. I've spent endless hours watching Allie race the steeple on YouTube trying to perfect my technique so I can better my time and make the race more enjoyable and sharing the track with Lexi for one year has helped build my self esteem and helps me get through every race. Jessica, I envy the amount of smiles you give during a race no matter what the outcome of the race is. Included in this article will be an individual "letter" to each one of the six runners I have listed above. I hope you take this as a "thank you" for being someone I can look up to and believe in when I stop believing in myself.

This ones for you.

Allie- From spending hours watching your steeple races on YouTube to watching you win back-to-back NCAA titles, I can't tell you enough how inspiring it has been to watch you conquer your goals and live out your dream. You have showed me that working hard on the track isn't all what it's about, being focused in the classroom and finding yourself is just as important. You are part of the reason why I started to steeple and got back up when I fell down. You can't perfect a race if you give up, giving up just means that you won't succeed in the end. Your drive to do this not only for yourself but to do it for your family and teammates. Giving it all you have and leaving it on the track is something I forget sometimes and you remind me of that. Congrats on another NCAA title and keep inspiring runners each and everyday.

Ostrander crosses the line to win her second NCAA title in the 3k Steeple

Dakotah- From being high school teammates for one year and watching you go off and do big things at Northern State has been such an inspiration to me. Watching you grow into the person and runner you are today has inspired me to work hard because you taught me that if you don't put the work in, you're not going to get the outcome that you want. Doing what's best for you and doing what your body tells you you should do is something that you need to pay attention to. Having someone who I can go to for anything at anytime is something that I know I have needed and just realized that I have that. You have shown me to be myself and just go for it, there's nothing you can lose.

Jessica- You're one of my most recent runners that I have been looking up to. I have a love for the Ducks and a love for runners who smile no matter what. I think that's what drew me towards you. Watching you race is so much fun and knowing how much work you put into your season to come out as a NCAA champion in the 1500. I am a long-distance runner and you won't find me running a 1500 to save my life but one of the reasons I find you so inspiring is your drive to never give up and your love for the sport itself. Every race I've watched of yours you fight until the very end and never give up and in the end you finally reached the goal you were going for. That is something that I can take with me no matter what race I go into, never give up and keep smiling.

Karissa- We're both midwest runners and to me that strikes up an automatic connection with each other. I have been looking up to you ever since I started running in high school and now am a junior in college, still watching you race every race. I get chills every time I watch you toe the line and say to myself, "what can happen today?" or "is Karissa going to set another record tonight?!" You fight until the very end of every single race and to me that's something that I tend to lose in myself. Once I start losing myself in a race I just give up on myself, and there are times during one of your races when I can tell you are starting to lose yourself and you find yourself back in the race again and you finish the race stronger than when you started. From an Iowa runner to a big shot DI collegiate runner is something I think about and it keeps me going. Now that you're graduated and won't be competing in another Mizzou uniform, I hope to see you in a pro uni tearing up the track for many more years to come because I wan't to keep being inspired by you.

Lexi- Competing in races with you has been a lot of fun this past year and I one of the things that I really admire about you as a runner is how well you face adversity when it hits you. This past year was a roller coaster for you and after cross country nationals didn't go the way you wanted you used that as a motivator to make yourself better and stronger for indoor and outdoor and that you did. It really inspired me to keep pushing, yes running hurts and yes it sucks most of the time but you have to be thankful for your opportunity to run. Running is something not everyone gets to do and if you dwell on a bad practice, race or day you're not going to get any better. One bad race doesn't define you and you have taken that meaning to a whole new level. We have talked a few times but it was the occasional "good luck" or "congrats!" I wish I would've gotten to know you as a person because you have inspired me immensely and we didn't even know each other. The NSIC won't be the same without you.

Sydney- From high school, the Olympics and now Kentucky I have been so invested in your career. How can one be so incredibly fast and talented with such little experience and that's when it came to me. You work hard and you work for the goals that you want, you don't expect them because you earn them. I've learned from you that every PR, every race and every win is like the first. You don't take any race for granted and are thankful for each opportunity you get to race on the track. Even when mother nature doesn't agree with what you want, you still fight for what YOU want. Racing doesn't come easy but you make it look easy and that's because of your work ethic, teammates, coaches and friends. Which is something that I can take away from you as well. There are so many people who support you, you just need to stop and focus on what really matters. Winning isn't everything and knowing that you did your best is always the best feeling one can have.

To these outstanding athletes, women and leaders, thank you.

Follow my running journey at Southwest Minnesota State:

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

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