A runner’s struggle: MacKenzie fights for top spots

The Hinsdale Central boys’ track and field program boasts over 200 Central athletes of all ages, sizes, and physiques. From jumpers, to sprinters, to throwers, every athlete specializes in various disciplines of ability. However, with so many athletes on the team (and only a small number of top, scoring positions), it’s impossible for every student to impact the team through their physical performances. Therefore, the top spots in any sport are intensely contested.

Senior Sam MacKenzie has been training as a runner for four years, feverishly clawing at his chance to break into the top middle-distance running positions. Unfortunately, MacKenzie suffered several quadriceps injuries during the autumn cross country season. Now, in his final track season, MacKenzie has one last shot at overcoming his injuries and becoming a serious asset to the team.“This season, coming off a tough season of cross country with a bunch of quad injuries, I knew that I needed to go all out for track,” MacKenzie said. “As the [cross country] season wore on, I could feel my body growing fatigued with each difficult workout.”

But these issues did not deter MacKenzie. Instead, he plotted a course of self-improvement.

“I made track a priority this senior year and did everything I could to get better,” MacKenzie said.

MacKenzie is an extremely effective 800 and 400 meter dash runner, consistently finishing the races in 2:05s and 0:56s respectively. However, at the highest levels, slightly better times are necessary. These times are MacKenzie’s goal – but they come at the cost of intense training.

“I was all-in [during] winter training so I could [keep pace] with all the other mid-distance guys,” MacKenzie said.

Along with winter and offseason training, MacKenzie has been visiting personal trainers and has centered his diet around healthy options.

“A lot of people have seen the time payoffs that they’ve worked for [with similar methods],” MacKenzie said. He is hoping that these tactics will work for him as well.

The season is coming to a close now, and the line-ups for Varsity conference and sectionals are becoming clearer. However, nothing in set-in-stone yet.

“Nobody knows who could slip into the last open 800 (meter) spots [at conference],” MacKenzie said.  “It’s just going to be all about who is running fastest.”

Of course, MacKenzie hopes to be one of those runners.

Boys’ Track is looking to do some serious damage at the Varsity conference, with or without MacKenzie. If things do not work out for the mid-distance ace, he is still looking forward with his head held high.

“I still had a great season,” MacKenzie said. “Hopefully the guys finish off the season strong as they make their way to the postseason.”

However, he is not ready to count himself out of the running.

“It’s not over yet,” MacKenzie said.