Sports Spotlight: Chris Johnson ’13

Sport: Cross Country

Hometown: Murry Hill, NJ

Why Chris? He set the school record at the Colgate Invitational last weekend, beating the old record by 40 seconds.

1. Is there such a thing as a home field advantage in cross country? Do you benefit from running on your home course?

There is a big home field advantage, especially on a course like Colgate’s because the course is very hilly and has some real sharp turns. Since we run the course all the time in practice, I know where these hills are and I can plan my race around these hills. The last mile and a half of the course is almost all down hill so I know when I get to this point, it’s time to really push it and start moving.

2. You were able to shave 40 seconds off your time last year and beat the previous Colgate record by 19 seconds. What do you attribute to the quality of your run?

This summer I ran more miles than in previous summers so I came into the season in much better shape. I feel like I am much stronger than last year because of this extra training.

3. What is going through your head at various points during the race? Is it mostly about the race or do random things cross your mind?

In the beginning of the race, I really concentrate on putting myself in a good position. I make sure I do not get out to slow and try to position myself right behind the leaders. Once I settle into a pace, random things may start to cross my mind and I often get a random song stuck in my head. I am still concentrating on where I am in the race, but thinking about something else keeps me calm and composed. At about three miles into the race, I start evaluating what kind of position I am in and whether I should try and move up or wait to move until later. With a mile to go, I really start to push it and think about nothing except catching the runners in front of me and really finishing the race strong.

4. You missed taking the top spot by only one second. Is it tough to lose by such a small margin after a long race? Or can you view this as a positive because you nearly beat a runner who finished in the top-30 in the NCAA Championships last year?

Losing by such a slim margin is never easy, but it was a huge confidence boost to be able to stick with such a talented runner for the entire race. The experience I gained on Saturday will be invaluable at the NCAA North East Regional meet in November where we get to run against Syracuse again.