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The Scarlet & Black

The Scarlet & Black

McCallum-Cook quietly leads Pioneers

Last week was big for the Pioneers. After taking home first place at the Les Duke Invitational, they saw their seed move from 19th to 16th in the NCAA Division III rankings. Although he hasn’t been lauded by the Midwest conference or consistently pictured on the athletics website, Ian McCallum-Cook ’12 has been a consistent and reliable asset to the team. Quietly working toward the strongest season of his career, McCallum-Cook is near his athletic peak. The path getting there was unusual to say the least.

Ian McCallum-Cook
Ian McCallum-Cook '12 stretches out his hamstrings on Rosenbloom Field before a run with the cross country team Thursday afternoon - Ben Brewer

McCallum-Cook was born in Massachusetts on May 25th 1989, and moved to Pennsylvania on his fourth birthday. He spent most of his life working as a sheep farmer on his dad’s farm.

“Both me and my brother started running in sixth grade. The school we went to had a mandatory athletic policy so that was lacrosse, ice hockey and soccer. Ice hockey and lacrosse are violent sports. Only for the winter season there was cross-country, weight lifting and basketball. My brother and I hated it,” McCallum-Cook said.

Never the most enthusiastic person about athletics, it wasn’t sports that made McCallum-Cook tick back then. And cross-country was the only sport that he could do without having to chase after a ball or be cheered on with a team.
“I loved to read and played video games. I hated athletics so I chose the sport that seemed less like the other sports,” McCallum-Cook said.

So, against his instincts, he started running.

“For the first three years, I really didn’t enjoy it. But as I got into shape, I started enjoying it. You’re constantly challenging yourself and you’re trying to get a better time,” McCallum-Cook said.
He did not start running cross-country until he started high school, when he ran competitively out of enjoyment rather than necessity.

At Grinnell, McCallum-Cook runs every day without fail.

“When I don’t run I have trouble sleeping,” McCallum-Cook said.

Though it may seem like he spends all his free time running, he is also involved in various activities including founding of the now infamous beekeeping club.

“When I’m not participating in cross country, I sleep, I party a lot and go to concerts,” McCallum-Cook said. He is also interested in music and looks forward to participating in the concert committee.

This summer, during his MAP, he lived in the $lum and found it to be exactly what one might expect—fun, untidy and crazy.

“It’s almost like living with five-year-olds, with five-year-olds being in charge.” McCallum-Cook said.
From living habits to sleeping habits, running has now become the activity that shapes McCallum-Cook’s life. Needless to say, the sport has become more than a sport for McCallum-Cook.

“In other sports, people argue about why they lost in the end, but in running there’s no argument. Plus you’re really tired so you’re not about to be upset about it, you’re just really happy to be finished.”

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