Athlete finds relaxation in distance running

For The Tribune

While some find distance running excruciating painful, Morgan Harrison feels most relaxed on the course.

“I feel like distance running is more relaxing than sprinting because it’s your own pace,” the Brownstown Central senior said. “You’re not sprinting like ‘I’m neck-and-neck with this girl all the time.’ You set your own pace, you run with other girls at your pace. You run long distance with them and you can just have a good time with it.”

Harrison was injured in track her sophomore year and helped out as a manager for part of that season and in cross-country last year.

“My sophomore year I was a lot faster than I was this year,” Harrison said. “I was a lot more determined my sophomore year. This year a goal was to reach nine minutes at each mile. I usually didn’t reach that. My legs started getting tired or my leg started hurting or whatnot, but I always tried to give a good first mile because it set a good mindset for the rest of the race.”

The senior said the last two-thirds of the course are the toughest.

“The second mile is the hardest because you start doubting yourself, your pain starts kicking in, you’re tired and if it’s hot out you’re sweating, but you have to learn to push through that second mile because you can’t let that be your slowest time,” Harrison said.

“The third mile you’ve got less than a mile to go. Sometimes you can see the finish and you go for it.”

She said her career-best was 23:58 at Jac-Cen-Del in Osgood.

Harrison admitted she didn’t train as hard during the summer as she needed to, and her times at the beginning of the season were a little slower than she wanted.

“One of my early meets, either the first Pekin race or Hardy Lake, I started dropping my times, and that was a surprise to me and, ‘Oh, wow, I can actually drop times,’” Harrison said. “Ever since then I dropped times. I dropped five minutes the whole season so that was good for me.”

She preferred cooler weather during races.

“When we had cooler weather I ran better,” Harrison said. “I liked it when we had a cool Saturday. I liked the Saturday meets more because you’re more rested up. Right after school you’re tired after you’ve had a full day of school.”

She said one of the things she liked about cross-country was the variety of courses she ran on.

“In track, it’s an oval,” Harrison said. “It doesn’t matter what school you’re at. Some schools have nicer tracks than others.”

Harrison said in track she plans to run the 800 and 3,200.

“The mile is a little more competitive than those two races,” Harrison said. “Every year I’ve ran the 800, and in the 4×800. I’ve ran that a couple times. I think I enjoy the relay even more than running an individual event just because your teammates are right there with you. They’re experiencing the same thing, and they’re always supporting you.”

Harrison said she began her running career in eighth grade at Lutheran Central.

“It was kind of a last-minute decision, and I had no clue I was going to be running my whole high school career,” Harrison said. “I didn’t think I’d be running at all.

Harrison says it is important to stay positive in any sport you participate in.

“Not are you just depending on yourself, but you depend on you other teammates too, in cross-country and track as an overall sport,” Harrison said. “Your teammates need to fulfill their part of the team. You have to make sure first that you’re fulfilling your own part so that your mental standard has to be up to par all the time.

“You always have to be believing in yourself even if it’s your hardest race or you’re not feeling good that day, you have to believe in yourself and then you have to support your teammates.”

She has enjoyed her days at Brownstown.

“I couldn’t imagine going to anywhere else,” Harrison said. “It’s small and it’s so great here. I think the class size is perfect for a high school. The student-teacher relationships are really good here. It’s big enough so you don’t feel like you’re crammed into a small place, and it’s small enough that you can bond with people, and a great place to learn.

“Between cross-county and track, the distance girls are usually the same, so you really get to know them well. It’s a year-around thing. You’re with the same people and you form great relationships with them. You get to learn what they’re like, what their strong suits are.”

Harrison file

Name: Morgan Harrison

School: Brownstown Central High School

Parents: Dr. Ron and Karen Harrison

Siblings: Lauren, Faith

Sports: track 4 years, cross-country 3 years

Athletic highlights: cross-country-All-conference honorable mention 2015

Organizations: National Honor Society vice-president, Science Olympiad president, Booster Club, Trinity Lutheran Church youth group

Plans after high school: attend college

Favorite food: mac and cheese

Favorite TV show: The Office

Favorite singer: Rihanna

Favorite movie: The Blind Side

Favorite team: Indiana Hoosiers

Author photo
Arv Koontz is a sports correspondent for The (Seymour) Tribune.