The Mile is just like High School

The Mile is just like High School-valedictorian speech by Class A 800m, 1600, 3200m champion Erzsebet Nagy of Lawrence HS


Here we are, at the end of the four years that once seemed so daunting and infinite. I remember being so anxious for freshman year and thinking, “How am I going to survive the next four years of my life?” I now understand that thinking too far into the future is dangerously overwhelming. Looking back, I can see that the best strategy is not so different from the way I approach my favorite race, the mile. This race, just like high school, is comprised of four parts, and each must be taken one at a time.

           The first lap starts with the gun. The pack is a cluster of runners, blood pumping with adrenaline, all jockeying for position. Even among all this chaos, the goal of the first lap is to get out safe, creating your own rhythm and establishing yourself while avoiding any elbows thrown your way. Pay no attention to the speed of the other runners and settle into a pace fast enough to maintain but not burn out.

           The first lap is over in the blink of an eye, and you should be settled into your own cadence by now. Lap number two requires more focus, but it doesn’t really hurt yet. Although the first half of the race is just as long as the last half, it is much smoother sailing. I think that’s why this second lap is the least memorable. It is without the anxiety of the first, yet lacking the inevitable pain of the final two.

The third lap is undoubtedly the hardest-- think Mr. Huber’s chemistry class-hard. There is no magic that will ease the pain, unless of course, you stop running. Do not let up. It will hurt, but you will become a stronger person for enduring.  As hard as it may be, remain positive while focusing on completing this lap. Tell yourself that you can do this, that you are strong.

           As you enter the final lap, the crowd is screaming now, and Mr. Marcoux shouts out “One to go!” as he fires the gun. 400 meters remain, and it is so easy to stop caring. Just hold on. This is when the finishing kick comes into play, taking you to heights you never dreamed possible. Let the energy of your teammates, friends, and family fuel your legs as you fly down the homestretch and cross the finish line.

    In a way, tonight is our finish line. In another way, tonight is our starting line. We made it through high school, and now the rest of our lives awaits us. Ultramarathoner Scott Jurek once said “We strive toward a goal, and whether we achieve it or not is important, but it's not what's most important. What matters is how we move toward that goal.” As we leave for our separate journeys, please remember to take each adventure one at a time, giving it your all and running your own race.

More information of Erzsebet

College Choice: Middlebury

Milesplit Profile

Personal Bests

  • 1,600 Meter Run 4:57.66

  • 3,200 Meter Run 10:49.27

  • 5,000 Meter Run 18:28.88

  • 800 Meter Run 2:13.50  (Maine All-time best)