Editor’s note: The Union-Recorder has re-launched our Athlete of the Week feature. Be sure to check out our nominees every Tuesday on Facebook and ‘like’ your pick for our weekly winner. Then, check out our feature profile on our UR Athlete of the Week in every Friday’s paper and our video and online galleries each week. The deadline to ‘like’ your pick is Wednesday each week by midnight.
Earning this week’s Athlete of the Week, Elizabeth Savage has proven herself as the top cross country runner at Georgia Military Prep School and in the county this season.
In only her first season, Savage admits running cross country never crossed her mind before this past summer, but she found herself struggling to maintain a healthy lifestyle and made the decision to join the team as a last resort.
“One of my best friends was in cross country and she did really well last year,” Savage said. “I was almost overweight at the end of the school year, so I had a goal to run cross country this year and lose weight and get healthier.”
Early on, Savage never considered herself one of the top runners on the Lady Bulldogs’ squad; as a matter of fact her goal was specifically geared towards her health.
“When I first started running this summer, being good at cross country really wasn’t one of my goals,” she said. “I just wanted to lose weight and be healthy. I just want to be as healthy as I can.”
Slowly over the course of the season, Savage has accumulated four wins and has run lowered her time over the 5 kilometer distance to 22:11.
“I think I’ve done pretty well. I’m really happy to run with my friends and we have a great team,” she said. “I’m having more fun than I’ve ever had and I’m pushing myself. Sometimes it does get stressful, but you have to pick yourself up.”
According to Savage, pushing past human limits is the main focus, but she understands it is not always as easy as it seems.
“The main part about cross country is you have to push yourself and you have to make the decision to push yourself past your limits,” she said. “I started running this summer in my neighborhood, so telling myself that I can do this was difficult.”
Part of the reason Savage has been able to stretch her limits so far has been the fact that one of her best friends, Lila Mitchell also runs cross country for GMC Prep and pushes Savage in races.
“It is really good to have a friend that is a rival on the team,” she said. “I love it because she makes me go faster. When I see her next to me it pushes me and it makes go faster.”
It is a struggle sometimes, especially when Savage is running as well as she would like, but she admits the thought of letting her friend and teammates down always motivates her.
“I don’t want to let my team down. I want to help my team get the best possible score that we can,” Savage said. “When I go through the pain, I just think that there is not much more left.”
Not only does the leading Lady Bulldog runner enjoy competition, but Savage also enjoys helping her teammates attain their own goals.
“My favorite part about is I’m encouraging other people,” she said. “Winning is good, I guess, but I really enjoy encouraging others and helping my friends.”
As this week’s athlete of the week, Savage is proud of the accomplishment since running for the young harrier has not come easy.
“When I want to be good at something I have to work really hard at it,” Savage said. “I feel really proud to represent GMC and humbled to win athlete of the week.”
Click here to subscribe to The Union-Recorder print edition. http://tinyurl.com/6qdm4oj
Click here to subscribe to The Union-Recorder e-edition and view this full article. http://unionrecorder.newspaperdirect.com/epaper/viewer.aspx