The Braden River sophomore talks her running origins and how her motivations have changed.
Gracie Marston is a sophomore girls cross country runner at Braden River High. She finished 10th out of 88 runners (20:58.13) in the elite girls division of the Seffner Christian Invitational on Sept. 14 at Lakeland's Holloway Park.
When did you start running?
Three years ago. I was playing soccer at the time and my coaches encouraged me to try it.
What is the appeal to you?
It has changed over the years. At first it was because it is an individual sport. You control your own results and your own rewards. Now, I see it as more of a team thing. We have improved a lot. I want to share the good times with my teammates. It is also a meditation thing for me. I can stop using my brain after school is over and just run.
Do you prefer cross country or track and field?
Cross country for sure. You can see everything in front of you more easily. You know what you have to do.
What is your favorite memory?
For cross country, it is reaching the state championship race last year as a freshman. I was the first Braden River athlete to make it that far. It was a great experience. (She finished 47th out of 186 runners, in 20:19.97.)
What has been your biggest challenge?
Mentally, I have not been pushing myself hard enough during races. I can do it in practice, but I need to transfer that over to actual races. I just need to break that habit.
What are your goals for the season?
Right now I want to break 20 minutes. That is the first goal. By the end of the year, I want to be under 19 minutes.
What is your dream vacation?
Going to Australia. I want to go snorkeling in the Great Barrier Reef and the wildlife there is so lush. The rainforests are incredible.
What are your hobbies?
I like to go swimming and play card games. Just hanging out. My sister (sophomore Hailey Marston) and I do a lot together.
What is the most recent movie you have seen?
Hailey and I watched the new 'Aladdin' yesterday (Sept. 15). I liked it. I have not seen the original recent enough to remember it well, but I think the new one was more action-packed. I want to re-watch the original and compare them.
What is the best advice you have received?
My parents (Ashley and Heath Marston) tell me to try my best no matter what. Your best is going to be different each day. Just give all you have.
Finish this sentence: "Grace Marston is … "
Can I change the structure a little? I want to say, "Grace Marston can … do it." That is what I say to myself during races when it get close to the end, over and over. I can do it.