T-Bird Tribune: Alison Pray on Keeping Student-Athlete Life Light

Alison Pray

Alison Pray

It’s easy to assume that student-athletes are serious and intense all the time. It might be that way for other teams, but for Southern Utah’s women’s cross-country team, that’s not the case. 

Running falls true to the popular statement, “My sport is your sports punishment.” It’s not always fun. We as cross country runners have to be creative in finding ways to make it enjoyable. We’re great at doing just that. 

Many people aren’t aware of the grueling nature of a typical cross-country practice. Most ladies are putting in 8-12 miles a day along with multiple strenuous workouts a week. As beneficial as these workouts are, they can be mentally and physically draining. 

I’m only able to make it through because I have the most amazing group of girls by my side. Before a workout even begins we’re already goofing around and exchanging laughs with one another. 

Once the workout begins it’s a little more challenging to laugh, but the encouragement and positivity we engage in before translates when we’re on the run.

When winter comes the cold and snow sucks the fun out of running. The team has to be a little extra creative to stay positive. Sometimes the snow is so substantial that our coaches have to clear the track with a snow blower in order for us to get our run in. 

Our team is still able to maintain a positive attitude and keep the practices fun. With the men and women’s team all stuck on one track surrounded by snow you can only expect one thing, a snowball fight.

One of my favorite things about being on the team is not only are we teammates but we’re all friends as well. The girl’s and guy’s teams are constantly getting together and doing activities outside of practice. 

Most of us even live with at least one other teammate. We all understand what it takes to be a collegiate runner. We spend every day working hard to reach our goals as a team, which I believe has helped bond us together. These people are my family and I love being a part of this team.   

Story by: Alison Pray
Photo courtesy of SUU Athletics