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Lennon wins MWC runner of the week

John+Lennon+19+is+leading+the+pack+on+the+mens+Cross+Country+team
John Lennon ’19 is leading the pack on the men’s Cross Country team

By Clara Larson

larsencl@grinnell.edu

As a sophomore in high school, John Lennon’s ’19 parents pushed him to join a sport. He chose track and field, competing in the 400-meter sprint. He started running progressively longer distances and, by the end of the season, was asked to try out for the cross country team.

Six years and thousands of miles later, Lennon is the top runner of the Grinnell men’s cross country team, and last week was named Midwest Conference’s athlete of the week.

This success didn’t come out of nowhere. Men’s cross country head coach Will Freeman said that although Lennon “was a very good runner right off the bat . . . he’s trained smart and progressively over the four years” to reach the mileage he runs today.

While describing his training, Lennon said “there’s a cycle and there’s a progression.” For Lennon, his yearly training cycle consists of cross country in the fall, indoor track in the winter, and outdoor track in the spring. As for his progression, Lennon explained that “[Coach Freeman] wants for his top runners … to do 60 miles as a first-year, seventy miles as a second-year, eighty as a third-year and ninety as a fourth-year, per week,” a goal that Lennon has already achieved.

“He’s running mileage that very few in our program’s history have done,” Freeman said. “The nature of the sport is, the higher the mileage, the more likely you are to succeed.”

Freeman hopes that Lennon will qualify for the national cross country meet this year. “I think nationals are a legitimate goal for him,” Freeman said. “He’s that good.”

Lennon commented on the cross country team’s welcoming environment and sense of community, emphasizing how important it is that “everyone always gets a seat at the dinner table.”

“The group here, both the men and the women, are really great people, and a good group to be around. It was a really welcoming place when I got here as a first-year and didn’t know anybody,” Lennon said.

After graduation, Lennon does not know in what capacity he will continue to run, but he hopes to one day qualify for the Boston Marathon.

John Lennon ’19 is leading the pack on the men’s Cross Country team
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