For Ryan Parson of Farmington, running seems to be a family tradition.
Following in the steps of his father and sisters, the high school junior can be found running through the streets of Farmington, the pathways at Engler Park or in cross country meets as a member of the high school’s cross country team.
“My dad was a runner in high school and my sisters both ran cross country,” Parson said. “So I already knew Coach Stone when I started in the seventh grade.”
But running is not the only tradition Parson follows. Apparently, competing in the state competition is as well.
On Nov. 7, representing the Farmington Knights cross country team, Parson went to the All-State Cross Country Competition held in Jefferson City for the third time and finished 10th in the state.
“I was pretty confident, although I wasn’t as prepared as I usually am because I had been injured in late spring,” Parson said. “I had a stress fracture of my femur where it went into the hip, so I missed the last month of track season and the first month of summer.”
Even with a late start, Parson did not let that slow him down. After getting back on the road, he began working out just as hard as ever.
“I typically try and run six or seven days a month,” Parson said. “Normally, when I am out of season, I run 6 to 8 miles. In season, during track and cross country, we do two speed work outs a week, so on those days, I run as low as 5 miles and as much as 10 miles”
As the seasons change from summer to fall to winter, Parson’s workout schedule seldom varies. Even when the streets are covered in snow, you will still find him running.
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“In the winter, for the most part, I’m still outside,” Parson said. “If we just got fresh snow, I might run downtown where the streets have been cleaned. I try not to run at the civic center. The surface is too hard and you can develop shin splints.”
Although Parson spends a lot of time on the streets of Farmington, he is not by himself. Just like any other team, the Farmington Cross Country team works out together. They help each other during and after a race, and they cheer each other on. But at same time, when the starting gun is fired, each runner is left to himself.
“In a race, before and after, we act like any other team,” Parson said. “We warm up and cool down together. But once the race starts you are racing against everyone. But the better you run the better it is for the team. If everyone does well, then the team does well.”
As Parson prepared himself for the state meet, little in his training regimen changed, except he was the only member of this team at the starting line. Parson will concede that it was a little nerve racking.
“It’s a little different being at the meet by yourself,” Parson said. “Normally you have the whole team with you to go through the whole process with you. We still brought our top four runners, me and three others, and I went through my warmup process as usual. But when you are on the starting line by yourself it makes you a little more nervous since it is the biggest race of the year.”
But when race day came, Parson set everything aside and focused on the matter at hand. According to the varsity Knight, he broke down the race with his coach and talked about what Parson wanted to accomplish.
“My coach and I will break down the race,” Parson said. “In the first mile, I want to make sure I get out in front by not too fast to burn myself out. I want to hit my second mile at around 10:15 and that will put me to run the third mile really strong.”
Parson’s strategy paid off. According to Parson, he hit his two mile time at exactly 10:15 and then ran one of the fastest 3 miles in the race.
With just a short amount of time before track season starts up, Parson will not be laying low. You will still find him running the streets of and the paths preparing for his next race.