Getting to Know the Super Speedy Runners at The University of Portland

Social media is a great way to promote companies and events through brand awareness. So many people are active on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, that utilizing those sites as a marketing strategy is becoming very popular and there are tons of positive results. I think social media can be a great outlet to promote even the littlest things, like events on a school campus, a new organization, and even sports. I am going to use social media to bring awareness to the men and women’s UPXC teams.

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Generally speaking, cross-country is not a very popular sport. It is just one of those sports you have to understand from an insider’s perspective, and lets face it, not that many people like running. And if you’re not into running, why would you go and watch a group of people who just go out and run for fun? However, there is a lot more to going out and running 10+ miles and racing to the point of passing out and puking. Let me try and bring you into the mind of a cross-country runner.

Friday, September 6th, the Pilot XC men and women drove to Blue Lake Park in Portland to take on U of O, OSU, Concordia, and PSU to start off the season at the PSU Viking Classic Invite. The men came out with the team win with the help of red shirt freshman Alex Dillard who took the overall win for the 4-mile race.

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The Pilot women took third place with the help of freshman Anna Farello, who took sixth overall, becoming the first finisher for the pilot women, followed by junior Marci Witczak who took 16th overall in the three-mile race.

With Anna being the first pilot to cross the line, (keep in mind, she is just a FRESHMAN), I had to ask her some questions and get inside her head: “Before the race, I was thinking a lot about who I was running the race for. I thought about my old high school team, my new team, and my family…. I was also singing songs in my head!” She told me her favorite thing about XC is the camaraderie. “I love being a part of this family and having some new sisters!”

Typically girls will run a 5k (3.1 miles) or a 6k (3.73 miles). I asked Marci what she thought about the course and the fact that it was only 3 miles and she responded very bluntly: “it was bullshit, it wasn’t even 3 miles, I have no idea what my time would even convert to for a 5k”. But she was content with how her first race went and excited for the next race in two weeks at Willamette University in Salem, OR.

Red shirted freshman and 800 meter runner, Lorea Ibarzabal (pictured below on the left with Junior Marci Wiczak on the right) made her debut in her first cross country race in purple, finishing 23rd overall, “It was better than I expected it to be, but I still love track more!”

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Pictured below is senior Lily Shafer with some of the best XC fans at UP, and UPXC alumni Lyndy Davis, varsity runner Julia Fonk, and injured runners Merel Van Steenbergen and me.

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At UP, cross-country is not known for having a stadium full of fans, partially because there is no stadium, so when you watch a cross-country race, you don’t stand in one place; it requires you to run around the course and cheer. But what people may not know is that ‘we’ runners LOVE our fans! It means so much to have people cheering and screaming for you. It makes the world of a difference out there, especially because it can get very lonely out on the course. True cross-country fans, really are the best fans!

It was a successful day for both the Pilot men and women. Those first race nerves are gone and we can now relax and enjoy the week ahead of just running and training. Our varsity team, which consists of the top nine runners, will travel to BYU this weekend. This will be our first away meet for the season, and we will be the only team coming from no altitude. Everyone is excited to see how the Pilots will do! It will be an exhilarating race, so stay tuned and cheer on your UPXC Pilots!!!

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