Jones displays love for running

by Abby Fergusson
Sports Editor

During her time in college, running has become more than just an activity for junior Natalie Jones. A two-year member of the track team and a personal trainer at XCEL Sport Science and Fitness, Jones has turned running into a way of life. Races on her résumé include five-, 10- and 30-kilometer runs, three half marathons and a 15-mile run.

Junior Natalie Jones recently completed her first full marathon at Marshall University in Huntington, W.Va.

After moving on from soccer, Jones started running to stay healthy and realized running a few miles was not enough.
“It started mainly just as a way to stay in shape,” said Jones, “but soon I found myself getting bored with just a mile or two. Running became a way that I could challenge myself mentally and physically.”

Searching for races in the area one day, Jones came across a half marathon in Midway, Ky. This prompted her to challenge herself to see if 13.1 miles was feasible.

“As I promised myself, I signed up for the race and ended up getting first place in my age division,” said Jones. “It was a big accomplishment and I was hooked from that point forward, looking for more races and more ways to challenge myself.”

At times Jones finds it hard to describe her feelings about running, but no matter what, her love for it remains.
“Some days I hate it and I don’t want to run, but I know I have to; and other days I love running and can’t get enough,” Jones said. “Even on the days that I hate running I love how I feel after I have finished.”

Jones’ biggest race to date was the Marshall University marathon this weekend in Huntington, W.Va. She began training four months ago and knew how important it was to stick to her regimen.

Jones found that her biggest challenge came from having to say no to outside activities.

“I think that the training leading up to the marathon was almost as challenging as running the marathon itself,” said Jones. “It wasn’t the running, it was having to say no to things because I knew I had to wake up at 5 a.m. to go run.”

Jones started out strong hitting the times she wanted, but between the 15- and 18-mile marks, she hit a wall. This was where her mental toughness became a factor.

“Those three miles were physically taxing, but the mental aspect came into play here — wanting to quit, but knowing that I had to keep going,” said Jones.

After those three miles she found her focus again and started to push through the physical and mental challenges she was facing.

“Seeing my mom, dad and the finish line made things so much easier,” said Jones. “I was just yards away from my goal and knew that if I could push myself just a bit more, I would have accomplished something that had been so important to me over the past few months.”

Jones and her running partner finished the race in 5 hours, 36 minutes.

“I have never been so happy to stop running,” said Jones.

Now that she has accomplished a marathon Jones has gained confidence.

“There isn’t any goal I can’t accomplish through hard work and dedication,” said Jones.

Not only has training helped Jones become more efficient and goal-oriented, but it has also taught her about perseverance and never giving up.

“Even when it sucked, I kept fighting, kept pushing through and kept working hard,” said Jones. “Even when things looked like they couldn’t be any worse or more difficult, I fought it and know now that I really can do anything I want, as long as I keep working. … There are so many things that I could say about running, but at the end of the day, I know that no matter how hard things get, I just have to keep running and stay positive.”


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