Sunday, September 20, 2020
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Hersey cross country trains across the country

The boys’ cross country team from Hersey High School in Arlington Heights, Illinois, spent part of the summer training in the Colorado Rockies, including on Magnolia Road, Correspondent Live reports.

Magnolia Road near Boulder, Colo. (tgidenver / Flickr CC)

“The most memorable part was running up Magnolia Road because it was one of the hardest runs of my life,” the student newspaper quoted senior Ryan Theisen as saying. “Every time I thought I finished the last hill, there was another one right around the corner.”

Magnolia Road climbs from 8,400 feet to 8,900 feet, and students ran on it for about seven and a half miles of its 13-mile stretch one day, wrote Quinn Cunningham for the paper.

Working at higher elevations, where the air is somewhat depleted of oxygen, at least compared to Arlington Heights and what these runners’ systems might be used to, wasn’t as tough as some of Theisen’s teammates thought it would be. Besides, the scenery made the hike up worthwhile.

“We hiked for a couple hours and got up to about 11,000 feet elevation, where the views were incredible,” the paper quoted senior Sean Paton as saying.

In addition to training, the team got to spend a little time with Mark Wetmore, the coach of the cross country team at the University of Colorado, Boulder.

The university’s location in the high elevations of the Rockies makes it the perfect spot for the 22-year veteran coach, whose winning history has inspired terms in the cross country world such as “The Wetmore Factor.”

Where Colorado runners get that extra push on race day isn’t exactly known, but it’s almost certain his coaching prowess has something to do with it. He has won half a dozen or so national titles and trained I don’t know how many All-Americans.

His training program favors those who are running for the long haul, and his success has four important elements, identified by FloSports:

  1. strong aerobic metabolism
  2. long runs (especially on Magnolia Road)
  3. domestic recruiting, especially in Colorado
  4. removal of the ego
Paul Katula is the executive editor of the Voxitatis Research Foundation, which publishes this blog. For more information, see the About page.

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