The UNK womens cross country team take a scenic route through a path in the trees the day before the South Dakota State Meet.
High pain tolerance, dedication and persistence. These are just three of the many qualities that make a runner, and the Loper cross country team has 38 individuals who all meet these criteria.
With the 2010 season in progress, the Lopers are on the run to a very successful finish. But it is all the work between the races that truly make the Loper runners successful.
Head cross country coach Brady Bonsall believes there are many components that make up a true runner.
“Obviously, talent is important," Bonsall said. “A long-range perspective to be patiently persistent as you work your way through the process of succeeding and a spirit that excels in competitive settings is also very important. And, as always, a ridiculously high pain tolerance is nice,” Bonsall said.
From the perspective of Joe Coil, a sophomore UNK runner from Omaha, consistency is one of the key components to becoming a great runner.
“When it comes to running, being consistent is very important,” Coil said. “You have to be consistent throughout the whole year and not for just part of it if you want to be successful and finish the season strong.” Bonsall believes that when a runner “finally gets it” is when the success starts pouring in. "'Getting it' involves a combination of characteristics,” Bonsall said. “Part of it involves the consistent work ethic to get things done. It involves understanding that my role is to guide my athletes, not to force them to do things,” Bonsall said.
Bonsall stresses the biggest thing is to have the attitude of wanting to do the things to get better as opposed to having to do all the things to get better. Bonsall said he has many runners on the team who are “finally getting it.”
Being a successful team is also very important for individual success as a runner. To Bonsall, a great team comes with being an adult in the way you go about things as a student-athlete. “Taking ownership of your own success, caring more than I do, being coachable, which involves trust and authentically desiring team success. Even if that means that a teammate beats you, are all very important for a great team to come together,” Bonsall said.