Story by Justin Gaston, Contributing writer
Sophomore from Austin, Texas, Rebekah Priddy has been a key contributor to the Racers’ success this season. Priddy currently holds the school record for the 2K steeplechase. Priddy took some time to answer a few questions about herself and this track and field season.
Q. When did you begin running track and what made you start running?
I started to run when I was just a freshman in high school. Soccer was my main sport up until I realized that distance running was what I wanted to focus on. My sister, a year older than I am, joined the cross country team for fitness purposes, and I luckily followed in her footsteps. I honestly never expected running to become such an integral part of my life.
Q. What are some things that go through your mind while you’re competing in a race?
It really depends on the distance of the race, but most of the time I try to block everything out and just focus in on the race. I think it takes a lot to do this, considering there are so many distractions around you in a race, but I find it reassuring to be able to constantly remind myself that fatigue is a product of perception and can therefore be overcome if I just hold on.
Q.What has this season been like for you and your team with all the achievements you all have made?
This has definitely been the team’s best season since I’ve come to Murray, and I can honestly say that it’s been a roller coaster. I have personally never trained so hard in my life for this sport, and I know that many, if not all, of my teammates would say the same. That being said, all of our hard training is paying off and we’re able to see improvement in every single race that we run.
Q. Do you remember your first official track race? What was it like?
My first official track race as a Racer was in December of 2014, and I had just come out of a season of injury. Coach Jenny entered me in the mile at Vanderbilt and I was scared to death, mostly because I didn’t think of myself as a middle distance runner and because the uniform was not something that I was used to yet. I don’t remember exactly how the race felt but I definitely remember that my time was about 25 seconds slower than what I can run now.
Q. Being from Austin, Texas (Hook ’em Horns!), how long did it take you to adjust to the weather? (I’m from Dallas and still haven’t gotten used to the cold).
In all honesty, I’m still surprised at how miserable I feel when I walk outside and the air is so cold that it hurts every inch of skin that is showing. I’m also naturally cold all the time, so that doesn’t help at all. But to cope with the icy winters, I just put on a ridiculous amount of clothing and cross my fingers that I don’t freeze to death in the Kentucky tundra.
Q. What is your most memorable moment in track and field?
So far, I would have to say that my most memorable moment on the track was when I ran the 2K steeplechase at Vanderbilt and got the school record. I remember crossing the finish line and walking off the track not knowing what time I had just run or that I had even gotten the school record until my coach and teammates were shouting it in my face.
Q. What are things you like to do outside of track?
When I’m not running around in circles, I really enjoy cooking in my free time. Ever since I moved off campus, I’ve enjoyed the luxury of being able to cook for myself and try new recipes.
Q. I heard you tutor. Is teaching something you want to pursue in the future, or maybe coaching?
I am a Spanish tutor and a physics lab teaching assistant, and I really do enjoy both of those jobs, but I’ve never considered pursuing a future in teaching. I’ve had some great coaches in my life as well, and although they’re truly inspiring, I’ve always known that I want to pursue a career in engineering, particularly in the biomedical field.
Q. What’s an event that you haven’t done that you have always wanted to do?
So far, I’ve gotten to run every distance event from the 800 to the 5K. The only distance event left for me to try is the 10K, and although it’s a physically and mentally tough race to run, I really would like to see what I could do. I actually enjoy long runs and the occasional half marathon, so hopefully next year I’ll get to try the 10K.