“You got this, let’s go, give it everything you got, dig deep!” is screamed from the center of the track in support of teammate’s races. It does not matter if the athlete just ran their race or is up next; Pacific runners never lack the energy to cheer on their teammates. The desire to support teammates is concrete amongst the team, and Olivia Myers, a senior on the cross country and track team, says that’s just the unspoken culture the Pacific Track and Cross Country team has created.
Myers, a distance runner, transferred from Portland Community College and never knew how much running would impact her life. The life-changing decision to run happened one morning and with little thought.
“It was wild because I did not run in high school, and I just woke up one day and decided I wanted to go on a run,” explained Myers. “Running was not a part of my life until two or three years ago; running was never on my mind and now running is a huge part of my life, and it’s something I care about so much.”
Once running became a routine and the miles started to stack up, Myers decided to join the PCC club team because she wanted to compete and get better. Myers was the only girl on her community college team and did not know what to expect, having no running experience, but she found so much support, which was the biggest thing for her.
So, when Myers decided to transfer to Pacific University, she wanted to keep running because it was something she was already doing often and wanted to stay consistent when she switched colleges and moved towns.
“I was terrified because I wasn’t as fast as (the other girls on the team), I wasn’t running as many miles as them, and I was a transfer, but I knew I wanted to stay a part of the running community, so I showed up and never left,” expressed Myers.
When Myers reflects on her past two years being a part of the cross country and track teams at Pacific, she says every individual adds to the team culture. Meyers has never been the fastest person or added points to the team in competitions, but she adds personality, support, laughter, and immense joy.
“I am there; I am cheering on my teammates; I am encouraging them in workouts, said Myers. “Team culture, to me, is the feeling you get when you show up to the (track) shed, I know I am walking into a positive environment, and I know that I am going to laugh.”
Running was about exercise and changing her body when she started, but she did not predict or plan for it to go this far. She never imagined herself at a start line, surrounded by other collegiate runners and friends, experiencing the rush of hearing her team push her towards the finish line. — Emily Rutkowski