Theresa Wohldmann, Contributing Writer
Junior University of Dallas cross-country runner Mary Jones tells me that running has always been part of her lifestyle. It would seem so, as she placed third at the University of Texas-Tyler Invitational on Friday, Sept. 7, clocking in at 20:45. When I asked her to give me a history of why she decided to start running competitively, she responded that she wanted to meet more people at her high school, so she “got into it at first for the social aspect.” She then realized how much she enjoyed it, and decided to reallychallenge herself.
“My goals for this year,” she added, “are to motivate the entire team and get a first place team finish; we’ve gotten second, but I feel we have the drive to get [first].” In addition, she hopes to make it to Nationals this year. When I asked her how fast her 5K time would have to be she said, “It definitely needs to be under 19:00.” Jones definitely has a shot at it, especially considering her workout routine. Six-milers are a minimum, and the team runs every morning as the sun is coming up. When I asked her what motivates her to wake up every day for 6 a.m. runs, she said that the team chemistry is unparalleled.
“We’re a goofy bunch, we make those morning workouts fun,” she explained. She also said that, although she has the fastest time now, freshman runner Elizabeth Hinchley always keeps up with her. Jones added, “We motivate each other, and the team as a whole.”
Jones could not stress enough the importance of patience and discipline in running. I had asked her how one could actually enjoy running six miles before most people even wake up. She cites her family, especially its running culture (her older brother placed second in the nation at the Notre Dame National Catholic Championship), and her need to “escape the UD bubble from time to time.” She says she finds peace of mind while running. She believes that everyone can run, and enjoy it, too.
“Ultimately, it’s a decision. People think they can go do a marathon after a week of running; this chalks up to a lack of patience,” she said. When asked if she had any advice for those potential roadrunners, she said to start “running 10 minutes a day, and then just gradually increase it”.