The 2017 Senior Perspectives is the 12th in a series of annual collections. Senior captains and representatives of teams at Harvard have been invited to contribute viewpoints based on personal experience from both their senior seasons and full varsity careers at Harvard.
Brandon Price, Men's Cross Country/Track & Field
Hometown: Balboa Island, Calif.
Concentration: Applied Mathematics
House Affiliation: Quincy
Competitive distance running is tough, especially if you’re a Harvard student. That is the first thought that comes to my mind when I look back at my collegiate, athletic career. Running 110 miles per week, traveling every other weekend, missing classes, trying to get 10 hours of sleep every night while also waking up early for practice, and watching what I eat in the dining hall is all very hard. When I committed to running for Harvard’s cross country and track teams, this wasn’t the lifestyle I had in mind. I thought I could get away with the same amount of effort that I put into training and classes in high school and still succeed. However I slowly learned that my four year journey wasn’t going to be this easy.
Alongside all of the hard work, there were countless setbacks and disappointments. In my first cross country race, I finished almost dead last. In my second race, I passed out 300 meters from the finish line. During my sophomore year, I was attacked by a german shepherd and couldn’t run for a month, then spent the next entire track season attempting to get back in shape. During my junior year, I finished 78th at the Ivy League cross country championship (there were only 86 runners). And in my senior year I struggled with plantar fasciitis, which essentially ended my running career.
The truth is that, it doesn’t really make much logical sense why anyone would even bother competing. We aren’t allowed to receive scholarship money for competing in the Ivy League. Distance running is a three season sport, so we miss a lot of opportunities like social events, jobs and extracurriculars because we spend so much time training. Other than our team, alumni and family, nobody cares whether we win a race or whether we get dead-last. Cross country and track meets don’t attract crowds like a lot of other sports. It really is kind of sad.
But it’s also very beautiful. Everyone on the Harvard cross country team runs simply because they love it. They just can’t possibly have any other motive. And that is why I continued competing for four years. I loved running 110 miles per week, traveling every other weekend, missing classes, etc. And there were great times when all of the hard work paid off. I placed second at the Ivy League Championship and broke 14 minutes in the 5k. But looking back, the best moments weren’t any of these specific achievements. The best moments were waking up at 7:30 a.m. in the cold and putting my body through hell by running 18 miles on a Sunday morning alongside fifteen other guys. That’s what my coach and my experience with this team taught me. What matters more in life, isn’t the end result. It is simply the process of living, working hard, and loving what you are doing.