Coleman Cronk is a junior at Lakota West High School in West Chester, Ohio. A converted baseball athlete who recently made the decision to focus entirely on track and field, he had posted PRs of 2:08.90 in the 800m and 4:31.02 in the mile over the indoor season and had run on his team's state qualifying 4x800 team. In this Dear Running essay, he extends his thoughts on a tough and uncertain stretch of training.
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"All we need is our Garmin, a pair of shoes and a trail. We'll continue to build our base and run our miles."
By Coleman Cronk - Lakota West (OH) High School
Last July, I decided to hang-up my baseball spikes because I decided I want to run in college.
I've had success in cross country, but as I talked to different coaches and athletes over the summer, it became apparent to me that I had to get some high school track times to improve my chances.
I knew the spring track season would be crucial. And I knew that if I was to go after that goal, I had to dedicate the time and put in the miles.
But then the season was put on hold, and it shattered my new reality.
Just two weeks ago, I competed in my first indoor high school state championship.
And now it could be over?
It's so fresh in my mind, that experience, those memorable bonding moments with my teammates at state and that New Balance Nationals Indoor qualifying 4x800 relay. It helped push me forward, especially after a bumpy cross country season that saw me take some time off after I was diagnosed with mononucleosis.
I wanted redemption after that season, after feeling like I let the team down when they needed me the most at regionals. Our team had never qualified for state, and even though I did run, we fell short.
But that defeat fueled a fire for us. We decided to fully dedicate ourselves to running in the winter months, and that's what we did, forming the ZCZ Track Club.
We started an Instagram account and invited other runners to run with us and logged many of our workouts, starting around 30 miles per week and then moving up to 45-50 miles for eight weeks.
I was ready for what was ahead.
And now it could be over?
What are we do to now? I feel like thousands of high school runners find themselves in the same position, wondering what's next. We know the importance of training, racing and posting times.
But as each day goes by, it looks like myself and all spring athletes will not have the opportunity to reap the rewards of our training.
While I know I will eventually have a time to prove myself on the track, I also know I'm lucky, because I have another year.
The seniors don't. They've put in the work, the sweat, the hundreds of miles and all those dreams into this upcoming season, only to see their personal goals disappear.
So, what do we do now?
We are trying to see through the negatives and continue as if the season could start at any time. Fortunately, social distancing is pretty easy with distance runners. All we need is our Garmin, a pair of shoes and a trail. We'll continue to build our base and run our miles.
You can take a gym away, you can take a track away, but you can never take away someone's passion and love for a sport.
For most schools, this time is known as a "no contact period." No official practices and no coaches means routines must come to a halt. There is no accountability and no one is forcing you to show up.
Although disappointed and fearful of the loss of the season, my team is doing our best to stay focused and we continue our daily training in hopes of the opportunity to compete at some point this spring, summer or fall.
We are passionate about running and will continue training for the sport we love. At the same time, we're also taking recommended precautions of staying away from crowds and keeping our families safe.
Our training obstacles are small when compared to what others are dealing with during this difficult time, but for now, there's something we know we can do.
We'll just keep running.
Lakota West High School junior
CONTRIBUTE TO THIS SERIES
For whatever your passion, be it running, jumping, throwing, hurdling, et cet., if you are a track and field and/or cross country athlete or coach interested in contributing to this series, please send your essay to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Eric Casarez, Texas A & M University sophomore and Fort Worth Keller Central (TX) graduate