February 11, 2010

Alex Harkins, Shares His Passion for Cross Country and the Broncos

Feature by Student Assistant Rico Chow (RC)

SANTA CLARA, Calif. - Santa Clara men's cross country senior Alex Harkins(AH) is a super Bronco student-athlete, who placed 22nd at the WCC Championships. He is a big big fan of all Bronco sports as well. Last season he ran a personal best 25:47 at the Bronco Invitational (8K).

Below, Harkins describes his love for cross country and the Broncos.

RC: According to your biography, your father played soccer for Santa Clara, and you and your sister love to play soccer as well. How did you end up running cross country for Santa Clara?

AH: Growing up, soccer was my family's sport. My dad coached both of my older sisters and me for many years. I started running my freshman year of high school in order to stay in shape for my soccer season in the winter. It just turned out that I was pretty good at distance running, more so than soccer I guess. Even though my cross country coach encouraged otherwise, I continued to play soccer for four years in high school. I always considered myself a soccer player who ran distance.

RC: Some people say that a sport that requires high endurance, like cross country, is a battle against yourself. What is in your mind when you are going through very tough and unpleasant time in a race?

AH: It is a battle against yourself, but I find a lot of motivation in external competition during races. As my friends would attest to, I am a very competitive person. If I'm nearing the end of a race and I see a USF jersey or an LMU jersey within striking distance, it's `game on'. However, off-season training is a different story. Finding motivation to train alone is difficult, that is where it becomes a battle against yourself. Thinking of those jerseys I want to catch helps a lot though.

RC: I hear you are a big fan of Bronco basketball team? Is there anything that you do to support our men's basketball team?

AH: Not only basketball, but also volleyball and soccer. I guess I'm just a Bronco fan. Santa Clara is a small school, so it's easy to get to know the other athletes. A few teams came to our conference meet, so we like to do what we can to support everyone else. If you haven't already, you'll see us, the cross country teams, in the front row of most home basketball games this winter.

RC: If you were to run around the world, which countries would you like to visit and why?

AH: I've heard of some cool running camps in Kenya and Ethiopia that would be pretty awesome to experience. They wake up when it's still dark and go run with a group of 50 people for a few hours. I could imagine the sweet trails they run on. I've also always wanted to visit my country of origin, Norway. I think there could be some neat trails up there.

RC: People would love to look better or become stronger but most people do not like the pain that comes with working out and running in the gym. Is there any advice that you can give people to overcome this endurance?

AH: I love seeing and feeling physical improvements after a good workout - to me that makes all the pain worth it. It's also very tough to transition from being out of shape to being in shape. Once that initial step is over, working out becomes fun.

GO BRONCOS!