Senior Foreign exchange student Nina Jansing runs the one mile race during a home track meet.

Running.  Some people live by it and others despise it.  Running is one of the best ways to lose weight and burn off those extra calories.  Running has many more benefits than just the health ones.

Running is a very cost effective form of exercise.  All that is really needed is a pair of shoes (and usually you would need shoes to do any type of exercise).  Also, running is a sport that is practiced around the world.  Senior foreign exchange student Xenia Griss is a long distance runner on the track team this spring.  Griss is able to experience what competitive running is like here in America.

“We don’t have track at our school,” said Griss who is staying with freshman Bryce Kopp, who is also a long distance runner.  “People run on their own, and there are running clubs.”

Griss has been enjoying the team aspect of track and she has also enjoyed Coach and Social Studies teacher Paul Rykken’s workouts.

When many students hear the word running, they often think of Rykken.  Many students may think that his love of running started when he was young, but this was not the case.

“I was a die-hard gym rat basketball player and the cross country coach literally dragged me out of the hallway one day and told me that if I came out for cross country he would let me and my buddies get in the gym after our workouts to shoot,” said Rykken, who has been running for 37 years–since he started cross country.

While many people start their running careers in middle or high school, don’t think that it is too late for you to start.  Eighth grade teacher Karen DeBerg and high school guidance counselor Sue Leadholm both started running in college for the same reason: to stay in shape.

“I was a sprinter in high school and didn’t really enjoy long distance running.  As a freshman in college I was really worried about gaining weight, especially since I did three sports in high school,” said DeBerg, who has run a total of nine marathons so far.

Leadholm also enjoys running for the way that it makes her feel afterward.

“(Running) always makes me feel less stressed,”  said Leadholm.  “When I run after school, all of the stress of the day seems to melt away.”

Deberg agrees entirely.

“The nights that I do not run after school, I feel tired and listless,” said DeBerg.

Running is a great way to cope with tough times in your life.

“Running helped me deal with the mourning of the death of my father,” said DeBerg.

Leadholm also used running to honor a loved one.

“When Tom’s mother died unexpectedly, I made a goal of running a half marathon in her honor.  That kept me motivated,” said Leadholm.

Running can also help solve other everyday problems in life.

“I have devised many of my best lectures while running,” said Rykken.

Leadholm and DeBerg both agree that one of the greatest benefits of running is the friendships that are formed.  It is great to be able to encourage each other and experience the form of exercise together.  This is the case for juniors Brandon Skelding and another long distance runner.  Both are teammates in cross country and track.  Both like the fact that it helps you stay in shape.

“All of the endorphins make me feel good,” said Skelding who is leading the boys team in mileage for the Viva Haiti project that the track team is participating in.

The three-time first-team all-conference runner doesn’t always feel the same way when he is running, but the end result is the same for both people.

“Sometimes running is not very pleasant, but the after effect makes you proud of what you accomplished,” said the state-qualifying cross country runner.

Running presents many great aspects to a healthy lifestyle.  Rykken has described it as his “positive addiction.”

“If kids develop a running habit, it is something that can benefit them for years,” said Rykken.