My name is Joe Lancaster and my running history started over 40 years ago. I came from a family of eight brothers and sisters. One day my parents allowed my three older brothers to compete in a 50 mile race. With Converse high tops on they were all able to finish it in a respectful time of 14 hours. Now there ages range from 15-17 and had completed it two times before my father allowed me to compete in this race. So at the tender age of twelve, I competed in my first ultra-marathon race. I made it to the 27 mile mark, the distance I needed to receive a ribbon. Did I mention this race followed the Appalachian Mountain path and it was snowing, raining, sleeting too? Now my story takes a break until I finished high school making it to states in my senior year. So I took another break from school until spring semester when I went to college to study as well as to run for Hagerstown College. This allowed me to compete and finish my first 50 mile race in a respectful time of 9 hours 33 minutes. This is where my life of running went into full gear, I was hooked on running for college and running ultra-marathons. Ultra-won briefly. I competed again and dropped over 2 hours in my time. With a time of 7:18 I had qualified myself for the World Championships in 1984. I got to compete against world record holder from South Africa and Western States 5 time winner, and for 35 miles or 4 ½ hours I was 3rd in the world. But a little bad luck in meeting up with my sponsor left me without any food, water, or change of shoes for 20 miles. I finished 30th and practically walked the last 15miles. I was on a 5 ½ hour finish time. Lesson learned. Now I was able to finish a college and a three year enlistment in the U.S. Army with respectful times like 4:21 in the mile, 9:33 two mile, 1:15 half marathon, 2:36 marathon, which place me 19th in the nation that year.
I tell you this not to boost my ego, my wife will tell you I don’t need any encouraging, but to tell you what I did wrong. Because the sport of track is no different than life itself, it has its peaks and valleys, its trial and errors, and if all things line up in a row just right, your victories. Now I as your coach want you to succeed in running as well as life. To use track to further your PR times or as a tool to achieve your goals in the future. This is how I grade myself, by your willingness to want to succeed and do the best you can do with honor, character, and respect for others. Now I ask you, are you ready to “run like the wind”! Giddy up! Let’s go!