This week, I sat down with Max Edwards, a cross-country transfer from Marquette University, to talk about his experiences running at Lawrence, so far. The sophomore came in second place overall at the Gene Davis Invitational held at Reid Golf Course with a time of 26:36.12. Originally an Appleton, Wis. native, Edwards is looking forward to the rest of the season with the goal of having the Vikings place first in conference—with the help of his lucky headband.
Pablo Morales: How’s your first term at Lawrence going?
Max Edwards: I love it here. I transferred from Marquette in Milwaukee. I loved it there, but I wanted to be at a smaller school where I could have more of a balance between my classes and running, but also at the same time pursue running at a higher level.
PM: How has the leap been from DI to DIII?
ME: For me it was a welcome change. It is nice to get the quote-unquote “free” gear and those sorts of perks that go along with being a division 1 athlete. The way I see it, I view running as a fun activity but at the same time I want to have that not encroach on my chances for my best academic success that I can have.
PM: This is a great place to come for that sort of balance.
ME: Absolutely. I also am a native of Appleton, so it was a natural choice for me to look at schools that are around here and also be able to stay involved in my siblings’ lives, who are all younger than me.
PM: You had a fantastic race on Saturday.
ME: Thank you. I’m honored. This was our fourth competition of the season. This is really where the season gets going for our team. Our training program is designed for us to work really hard the first two months of the season and summer, and at this point we’re finally running workouts that are letting our legs recover a bit more and therefore let us race better.
PM: How is the team getting along so far?
ME: We’re getting along great. It’s interesting only having a couple seniors, and as a smaller team—we only have 11 guys—it’s nice to be able to have a singular team. We get to train together in one group, run, and lift weights together. We’re having a blast. We’re a group that knows how to commit to a goal. We’ve never lost sight of our goal of wanting to win conference this year as a team. At the same time, we’re able to let loose and enjoy being a college student as well and just balance those things.
PM: Are you excited to train in the winter? It sounds brutal.
ME: It’s one of those things where if you’re in the Midwest, you have to go and do it. You can run inside on treadmills, but being outside makes you tougher. I credit a lot of my mental tenacity to going on those 12 mile runs when it’s -15°, -20° out. It’s really just a matter of bundling up and putting your nose to the grindstone. Getting out the door and keeping in mind your goals and why you’re doing it. It’s really tough in the winter but you know, this year it’s going to be awesome having a team to run with.
PM: What does the typical pre-race ritual look like?
ME: Something I started doing junior year when I started being successful was wearing a headband during races, since I’ve got that somewhat longer hair. I’ve worn a headband every race since junior year, which has been a fun thing I’ve kept going. As far as my pre-race routine, I like to try and stay loose and stay pretty relaxed. A lot of people like to listen to rap or rock to pump them up. I found that I perform better listening to things like Enya, the really calm music that clears my mind and gets me really relaxed. Anything I can do to stay in the moment and be calm really helps me. Being on the line cracking jokes with guys is always a good time when everyone is a bit tense.
PM: Any final thoughts?
ME: I’m super blessed to have the chance to be able to compete here, and I think the team is on the right track to do big things not only this season, but under the direction of Coach Fast, continuing to do things with this young team. We’ve got a lot of exciting potential with this program he’s built to be successful.