By Tommy Dickman
Junior cross country captain Mikuya Ford has had an impressive season with a state qualifying time of 16:28 and 24th place at the Troy regional meet.
Ford started the season with a time of 17:02 at the Bob Schul invitational at Milton-Union. His times continued to drop until he ultimately reached his new 5K personal record of 16:24 at the Anna Rocket invitational. At state, he will be competing with runners who have run under 15 minutes, formidable competition for the first-time state qualifier.
Training to become a state qualifier is just as serious as being in the race. Ford runs 4 miles before school and then does the scheduled team workout after. On Mondays, he completes a longer threshold run of about 9 miles. Tuesdays and Thursdays are an easy day of 5 miles at a steady pace. Wednesdays are a workout day involving repeats, hills, intervals, and fartleks, a form of unstructured speedwork. On Friday, he does a 2-mile warmup and then strides.
Friday, November 4, Ford will be going to the state course in Columbus to map out a race plan including where to surge, when to pass, and when to start the build up to the finish. Focus and rest are required in the hours leading up to the race. Mental preparation doesn’t just start during warmup: it’s been going all week.
Mikuya Ford will race Saturday at Fortress Obetz / Memorial Park at 3pm. Tickets are $12 and races go from 11-4:15.