Margaret Covey, an avid cross country runner, originally joined cross country at Jefferson to stay in shape for her spring sport, soccer. As an elementary school student, she had participated in cross country under Vienna Youth Incorporated. After taking a break in middle school, she decided to rekindle her passion for running at Jefferson.
Q&A with Margaret Covey
Q: How long have you been running?
A: I’ve been running for quite a long time. I did cross country with this program called VYI on Tuesdays and Thursdays for an hour from second grade to sixth grade. In fifth grade, I really ran, and participated in the Junior Olympics. I didn’t really run much in seventh or eighth grade. But then I started running on the Jefferson team last year.
Q: When and what happens at practices usually?
Practices are from 4:30 to 6:30 pm every single day. On Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, we do long runs, which are 5 miles. Practices start with warmups which include 800 meter runs, stretches, walks (like high knees and Frankensteins). And then we do pushups and planks. For Tuesdays and Thursdays, we usually do workouts and moderate paced runs. Practices are time consuming and very rigorous, but I feel that I gain a lot from this sport.
Q: What are some challenges you face in practices or conferences?
Well, sometimes you just don’t want to run; sometimes you don’t feel like it. Another problem that occurs is when you want to run with your friends but instead you are assigned to different groups. People advance at different rates. When you have a really good race, you may end up getting different times and assigned to different groups and separated from friends. But overall I think cross country is really fun.
Q: How do you overcome these challenges?
Honestly, it’s all about being on the team. The coaches will tell you what to do, and as a team player we’re required to follow their directions. Also, everyone pushes each other to do better so rather than looking at cross country as an individual sport, I see it as a team sport where everyone cares about each other. As a team we strive to overcome challenges together.
Q: What is your inspiration?
The main reason why I do cross country is because I play soccer, and cross country helps me keep in shape. Although I could get in shape for soccer myself, I wouldn’t be able to do it. Everyone on the team helps each other to improve, and this is what fuels me to run. I joined cross country because I wanted to meet new people. Everyone on the team is so sweet and being able to form lasting friendships has been very rewarding. I continued with cross country not only for soccer but also because I enjoyed improving and watching my times drop over the season.
Q: What do you hope to achieve in the future for cross country?
My goal, I guess time wise, would be to break 20 minutes for a 5k. I just like to go out and run. I don’t have too many goals for cross country because my main sport is soccer. But if soccer doesn’t work out, I think I would like to run in college.
Q: What is your favorite part of being in cross country?
I think my favorite part is just being able to meet everyone. I got a lot closer with so many of my friends. You just meet a lot of people, and being around everyone creates a great environment. After school, we can destress and talk during warmups and stretches.
Q: What are some rewarding aspects?
Well there are a couple of rewarding aspects. One is that you have so many close friends. I would have never gotten so close with some of my best friends here at TJ and possible never met them if it weren’t for cross country. The second is that I have gotten a lot faster, and it has helped me increase my endurance for soccer.