A Passion Found

From small-town runner to hopeful state competitor, Sarah Benes has come so far and she’s not even close to being finished.

Tyler Cook

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For many, it’s hard to discover a passion. It can be hard finding a hobby, which people would want to do for the rest of their lives. For sophomore Sarah Benes, this passion was found before she even started high school. 

Before she found running, her days had consisted of going to class, getting home, finishing her work and falling asleep. Just rise and repeat and that’s what an average week would look like for Benes. All of that changed when one of her track coaches in middle school recognized her potential. 

“The first time I ever ran was when I did track in seventh grade,” Benes said. “I didn’t even start running the mile or half-mile until the end of the season.”

That’s when the coach recognized her abilities and suggested that she go out for cross country. As her final year of middle school started, Benes’ parents signed her up for cross country and it was all history from there.

“When I look back, I still think it is the funniest thing,” Benes said. “My seventh-grade track coach said if I didn’t sign up for cross country, she would have done it for me.”

From then on, Benes has gained a love for the sport and has also taken her training seriously. As well, she is a strong believer in working on your mental health just as much as you work physically. To her, a strong mind makes an even stronger body.

“I always look at it one way,” Benes said. “If you don’t put the time into training, recovery and becoming mentally strong you’ll never see the results you want.”

Benes also loves her routines. She schedules her workouts for her meets down to the minute, knowing everything that she would like to do in preparation for the upcoming meet. With her entire day planned, Benes believes it secures much less room for error and gives her the same ideas of what she wants to do for the upcoming meet every single time.

Her pre-meet routine starts the night before. She always eat pasta, and it’s always penne with alfredo sauce. After dinner, she rolls out, ice her calves and then stretches out her quads. Benes also makes sure that she get to bed by 9:00 PM. On the day of the meet, she always eat toast or naan bread, and it’s always covered ¾ in peanut butter and ¼ in Nutella with one sliced banana.

With keeping the routine the same, Benes believes that it allows her to focus on other areas that are more important, such as her attitude. She plans to bring this routine and her mindset along with her this season, in preparation for regionals

“At this point in the season, my goal is to help my team place at regionals,” Benes said. “Individually, I would like to make it to state and hopefully, compete at the highest level.”

Ever since that fateful day in seventh grade, Benes has always had a passion for running. Whether it be track or cross country, there’s nothing she’d rather do and she knows exactly how to do it. She just keeps telling herself something that her father, one of her most important role models, has said to her ever since she was a little kid: “Leave it all out on the field, even if it hurts to give everything you’ve got.”