Run for Fun

Liberty students choose to take part in running for fun. There are many positives that they experience for this choice of exercise.


Jocelyn Klein

Kaitlynn Johnston and her family at a 5k this summer.

“Run for fun.” It seems as if this statement would be a paradox, but here this out: running does not have to be too difficult or a waste of time. Making the choice to get up and exercise can provide many benefits that would be worth it. There are positives in both mental and physical aspects.

Jon Kaleka, senior, runs on the track and cross country team. However, he runs both in and out of season and has made it an important part of his life out of school. His choice to run is because of the numerous positive mental effects.

Kaleka running in a cross country meet for Liberty. Courtesy of Jon Kaleka

Kaleka said: “Sometimes it feels like my mind is just not there, and I’m just lost in my thoughts.”

Running can provide a period of time where the runner is in control. They can focus on nothing at all and only think about each step and breath. Or they can focus on something they need to think about with no distractions and just their head. In addition, runners often listen to music and just disappear in the song. Running offers a variety of options of choice. 

If the problem is that going alone sounds unappealing and scary, a running partner is key. 

Kaleka said: “Personally for the first time I would tell you to run with someone: running with people is really fun. You can have conversations that you can enjoy.”

Running with a partner can help to achieve running goals and help to not give up. 

Kaleka runs about 50 miles a week. He runs to clear his mind and just to have fun. He is a prime example of a student finding the bright side of running. 

Students that voluntarily run expand just from those teams that involve running specifically. Kaitlynn Johnston, senior, can sometimes be found on a run. She has been swimming for the West-Liberty team all 4 years and once it ended she felt that had nothing to do. 

Johnston said: “It was nice outside; swim season was over, so I needed something to do.”

Even if she is not the biggest fan, Johnston finds different reasons that will inspire her to go outside and exercise. 

Johnston said: “I don’t particularly love running while I’m doing it, but I think after the fact I feel really good and it makes it worth it. But, sometimes I like looking around at my pretty surroundings.” 

When she had an extra hour to spare, she generally went around the neighborhood or to Squire Point.

Johnston said: “I have really enjoyed going this fall. I love to look at all the trees and leaves changing color; they completely captivated me.”

A picture Johnston took while on a run at Squire Point. (Kaitlynn Johnston)

Running does not always have to be sprinting. It is personal and paced. It will not always be terrible and long. It may be 1 mile 1 day, 3 the next, and then a break: it is not linear. 

Jeremy Mims, a multisport coach at Liberty, encourages highschoolers, athlete or not, to run. 

He said: “It is an activity that takes very little to get started, all you need is a pair of shoes. You can run with friends or do it individually, and it can be done all year. Running with others is a great way to meet and build relationships.”

He talked about the mental benefits.

He said: “Not only is running good exercise, it can relieve stress, and help improve your mood. With all the demands placed on highschoolers today, getting out for a run can be a good way to break things up and give you a bit of a boost. It’s also been shown that regular exercise is correlated with higher G.P.A’s.” 

His overall recommendation is to join track or cross country if you are unsure how to start. 

Don’t knock it till you try it and give running a chance.

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