Wake. Run. Repeat.


Senior Owen Preston logs 40 plus miles a week, but this is not by car. 

His dedication to the grueling sport that is cross country became apparent at a very young age. Preston began to recognize his running talents during his fourth and fifth grade years, and he truly utilized them in sixth grade when he first joined the cross country team. He has since dedicated much of his time and energy to tackling the trails, and in recent years, his mileage has increased exponentially. Not only did the races make the jump from a two mile course in junior high to a complete five kilometers in high school, the training grew more intense as well. Preston grew accustomed to the gradual increase until eventually, averaging seven to eight miles a day no longer came as a shock to him. It was merely a routine. 

“We’ve been working hard earlier this season and I think the results will show right around state,” Preston said. 

Training is designed specifically for the team to peak at the key period of time: state week. This being said, Preston’s weekly training schedule during the season is typically as follows: Mondays and Wednesdays are both considered workouts or “hard days,” which are generally high in mileage and include speed components such as 800 meter or mile repeats. Tuesdays are moderate days, and oftentimes consist of tempos. Thursdays and Fridays are pre-race depending on which day the race is scheduled for, and they contain three or four miles or 40 minutes of running with either striders or cut-downs at the end. Striders are simply 100 meter steady sprints, and cut-downs can be anywhere from 200 to 400 meters in which the runners are expected to get faster each set. Saturdays are long days and entail anywhere from eight to eleven miles for Preston, who, by the end of the week, is exhausted and much in need of Sunday, best known to him as “rest day.” The training week is arduous, but according to Preston, it is producing very favorable results. 

“I definitely feel stronger than I’ve ever been. I set a personal record my first race this season, and my times have been faster,” he said.  

This simple statement can be confirmed in Preston’s continually strong races. He is known among the team as one of the most consistent runners, and he holds this title for good reason. Preston’s times and places throughout the season have remained steadily impressive. However, this dedication and drive does not develop on its own. Preston credits his will to continue his running career to his coach Maggie Kirkham and close teammate Riley Smith. 

“I’ve been friends with Riley and known Maggie for more than 10 years. Maggie’s been a more than exceptional coach and has pushed me to be my best,” he said. 

Preston and Kirkham’s unique relationship has contributed largely to his success within the running field, which consumes large portions of Preston’s time. Oftentimes he spends up to two hours a day six days a week running, and his core routine follows once he returns home in the evenings. 

“I wake up, sometimes I have morning practice, then go to school, then am running after school until 5:30-6. Then more strength at home. Dinner, homework and then get ready for bed,” Preston said of his daily routine. 

His routine is draining, but Preston does it all with a purpose. He has specific goals for himself and his team come state. He revealed that overall the boys team is performing better than was expected of them this season, and he hopes for a finish that pays off at the state course in Star Valley. The course is at a higher elevation than the Cody cross country team is accustomed to, and it consists of several hills. 

“I hope to break 17 [minutes] on the state course, as well as place top 5 at state,” Preston said. 

Despite its tendency to consume all of his time and energy, Preston continues to hold a positive outlook on running. 

“Being in such a grueling sport makes you close with your team really quick. Running is nice to push yourself to the top constantly, test your mentality a little bit.”