Waking up at 5:45 a.m. is the norm for me to be out the door by 6:00 a.m. and start my day before the heat sets in. The result of what the season will bring is my motivation to continue working strong even when impediments occur. I lace up my shoes and head out the door with a positive attitude, because I know I need one in order to overcome my 10 mile training run.

Growing up on a farm surrounded by agriculture has taught me a lot about running.  The most important lesson I have learned is that hard work does pay off.  Throughout my life, I’ve seen failures and accomplishments.  Too much rain or a windstorm may damage the crops, but that is not always the case.  With determination and lessons learned, alternatives eventually will bring success as the expected result.

There are good runs and bad runs.  I can’t decide which one I will have before mile one.  However, I know that there is a lesson to be learned from every mile marker.  Sometimes I fall and need to get up to try again.  Scraped knees and palms are like downed crops in a perfect field.  You’re not able to correct the problem immediately, but you know the scratch is temporary. 

Most people who did not grow up in a rural area or around agriculture do not understand it.  Questions arise about the production of livestock, way of living, and the ultimate question of “why?”   While the answers seem very simple to those of us who have been around agriculture our entire lives, they are a mystery to others.

Running is not so different.  Non-running individuals don’t understand the reason behind the pain and training it takes to run a marathon, or the time commitment involved.  It takes motivation to put one foot in front of the other for those 10 miles, just as it takes motivation for farmers to plant rows of corn and soybeans for hundreds of acres.

Farmers and runners alike are highly motivated individuals. No one is telling them to wake up at 5:45 a.m., or asking them to keep working although it may be time for a ‘snack’ break.  I have learned to become motivated from growing up on a farm, and it has stuck with me through my double digit miles on a perfect day to sleep in.

Everything I learned from running, I also learned from agriculture. Running and agriculture have a lot in common, and the situations and lessons I was faced with on the farm have helped me to become a better person all around.  Running forces me to work hard with the limited energy I have, just as agriculture works with its limited resources.

“The answers to the big questions in running are the same as the answers to the big questions in life: do the best with what you’ve got.” – Anonymous

Abby Coers
University of Illinois Student

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