James Mwaura is a recent graduate of Lincoln High School in Tacoma, Washington and is an incoming recruit for Gonzaga University. While the Kenyan-born Mwaura only recently began running six years ago, he certainly didn't waste any time improving and was a two-time winner of the NXR Northwest Region in cross country and a two-time qualifier for Nike Cross Nationals, where he finished fourth as a senior. He won five state titles in Washington across cross country and track, is coming off a win at Brooks PR in the 2-mile and recently set a US No. 1 effort of 14:00.42 in the 5K--which was also No. 13 all-time in high school history. He reflected on his journey with the sport with a love letter to running for MileSplit. Check out all of our Dear Running entries here.
- - -
I'm grateful for the opportunities you've given me. You've brought me such memorable experiences and friends these past four years.
You've shown me how to be strong when things don't go your way and you've shown me how to care for others. You've also shown me how to help and motivate others in times of hardship.
I never thought you would bring so much success in my life. I remember four years ago when I was just a freshman, and I could never have imagined that my performances would be seen across the country.
You first showed me that we could be something great my sophomore year. That's when everything started for me. You showed me how believe in myself and you showed me I wasn't just any other runner on the start line, but one of many great runners.
The more I started to appreciate what we had accomplished together, the more you gave me. I might not have seen it then, but as time went you on you made me stop and look back and see how much I had grown. You made sure that I enjoyed everything I did and I'm thankful for that, because if I didn't enjoy it I don't think I would've accomplished everything that I have so far.
We have been through a lot these last four years together. You have been with me through the ups and downs. Every run I have went on with you has taught me a lesson.
The hard days are the days you taught me how to be tough and patient because that is the key element of racing. For recovery days, you have shown me to slow down and enjoy the process. For interval days, you showed me the goals you want me to hit.
Tempo days taught me to be tough, and the final long run taught me to look back and see all the things I've done to be where I am now.
Looking back, I see that all the hard times we've been through together and all the sacrifices we've made were all worth it. Because of you, I have made friends and closer connections to people I never thought I would.
All of these things were never in my plans, but you gave me that and so much more.
When we first met, you weren't easy. You said in order to be successful you have to put in the work. But you've also taught me that the trick to being better in every single race, from the 800 to the 5K, is to accept that it's going to hurt no matter what.
If I go into a race knowing that the pain is inevitable, then there is no reason why I shouldn't run the time I desire most if I'm willing to hurt for it.
As time has passed, every workout I did showed me that I was getting better than before.
You made things as simple as possible but not simpler. You've showed me that if I put in the work I will see the results no matter what.
I know everything I have accomplished has been through the work of God, and I can't say how very appreciative I am for the people who have been and still are with me through this whole journey.
One of my favorite quotes is from one of the most decorated Olympians of all time, Michael Phelps, who stated that, "You can't put limit on anything. The more you dream, the further you get."
Thanks to you, running, the sky has been my limit and I can't wait to see where we go together next.