By TOM BONE
Bluefield Daily Telegraph
The cross country course in Hillsville, Va., has been good to Josh Goodman. The Bland High School senior and honor roll student hopes that it will continue today, in the Mountain Empire District meet in the mountains of Carroll County.
“It’s a really fast course,” he said on Tuesday. “I’ve had some of my best times there.”
His personal best in a cross country event was 16:31, set in Hillsville last November in the Region C meet, where he finished third and qualified for the states. He’s run a 5-kilometer race in 16:12 and his best in a three-mile run is 15:59.
To turn in times like that takes dedication. Goodman has plenty.
“I’ve trained a lot,” he said. “I take the sport very seriously.” Toward the beginning of the season he would get up around 5:45 a.m. so he could get in a three-mile run in the cooler morning air before going to school.
He worked his way up from running around 40 miles a week in mid-summer to 50 or 60 miles a week in the middle of the fall season.
“Now I’m trying to tone it down to around 30-38 miles a week,” he said, explaining that it provides time for his body to re-charge for races yet to come.
His schedule includes around 11 races. He said the Virginia High School League limits the number in which a runner can participate.
The Bland County cross country coach, Brian Porter, has provided advice and motivation as well. Goodman said, “He pushes us pretty hard in practices; he tells us what do in practices — and he knows race strategies.”
Though teenagers often gravitate toward pizza, burgers and soda pop, Goodman also knows that a healthy diet contributes to maximum performance.
He said matter-of-factly, “Mainly I just don’t drink pop. Of course, you try to stay away from greasy stuff. That’s just common sense. You don’t want that in your system: it causes cramps ... .”
His dedication has resulted so far in all-Mountain Empire District honors for three years in a row, and he ran to all-region and all-state honors last fall. As a high school senior this autumn, ranked 34th in the state, he has his mind set on the ultimate goal.
“I’m pretty happy with what I’ve done,” he said about his cross country career. “I’ve worked pretty hard. I’m wanting to win state this year.”
Whenever his scholastic career ends, he’s had a good run.
— Contact Tom Bone at firstname.lastname@example.org