By Stephanie Butzer
Like all of Elon’s varsity sports, Elon’s Men and Women’s Cross Country teams train hard to play (or in this case, run) hard. Many of the runners feed off motivation quotes to help encourage them to keep their splits low and mileage high.
Nicholas Foley, first-year, said his favorite quote is “control your own destiny.” The two-time All-State Cross Country Championships qualifier said that while it does not directly mention the struggles of competitive running, it has a special significance in his life.
“In high school, my dad would always say it to me,” Foley said. “It reminds me that our sport is a total meritocracy. Hard work is rewarded. I have total control over how fast I run because only I can train my body to execute on race day through logging the miles and pushing the limits in the workouts.”
Luis Vargas, second-year, made the 2011 All-Southern Conference Second Team and Southern Conference All-Freshman Team. He has won the Team MVP for Elon.
Vargas took a more logistical approach when mulling over his favorite running quote. It describes the reality he has to face every morning as a runner. The quote, by Peter Maher, an Irish-Canadian Olympian and marathoner, reads:
“Running is a big question mark that’s there each and every day. It asks you, ‘are you going to be a wimp or are you going to be strong today?’”
“Every day we have to push ourselves to our bodies limits to get better, and the days where we overcome the pain are the days that we get faster,” Vargas said.
Cross Country is an easy sport to slack off in, so Elon’s runners must stay motivated to train hard. Ryan Gwaltney, first-year, said the quote, “Somewhere in the world someone is training when you are not. When you race him, he will win,” by Tom Fleming, gives him that encouragement.
“It really gets me motivated to just get up off my butt and get going,” Gwaltney said. “Honestly, the hardest part of cross country is getting the motivation to start. It really gets me fired up to start working hard.”
Sean Martyn knows there are many variations of his favorite quote, “Pain is temporary, but regret lasts forever,” but this one sticks with him more than the others. It reminds him that no matter how hard a workout or a race is at the time, it will be over at some point and will not haunt him for days to come.
“However, if I give into the pain, then not only am I going to not achieve my own goals but I’ll be letting down my team as well,” Martyn said. “The amount of time I have to compete at this level of competitiveness is ever fleeting and when I look back, I know that I want to be able to say that I left it all out there and did the best I could.”
Christine Pacewicz, a senior majoring in exercise sport science, said her brother sent her a YouTube video last year before her conference race. The video mentioned the quote, “When you want to succeed as bad as you want to breathe, then you will be successful.”
Pacewicz wears a bracelet that reads, “never, never give up,” which is another one of her favorites.
“Divide the race into thirds. Run the first part with your head, the middle part with your personality and the last part with your heart.”
McDavid relates this quote to the three miles she has to run when racing a 5K.
“The first mile you have to be smart and not get caught up in the excitement of the race,” McDavid said. “The second mile you have to be tough and stay focused because this is where exhaustion starts to set in. Finally, the last mile determines who wants it more, who’s willing to give it everything.”
McDavid, who is majoring in journalism, was named to the Southern Conference Fall Academic All-Conference Team.
The season is winding down for Elon’s Cross Country teams. There are a few meets remaining in the 2012 season and as the runners hear the “ready, set” and gunshot, motivational words will help propel them forward.