On Track – From High School to the Track of Life

April 24, 2014 — 6 Comments


My high school running career was nothing to write home about.  Honestly, I hated running in high school.  I ran so I could hang out with my friends.  Before every race or meet, you could find me in the locker room bathroom dealing with the effects of a nervous stomach.  Practices were a painful experience as I tried to keep up with my faster teammates.

I have a few very distinct memories from my high school running career.

First, I will always remember the winter track meet at Widener University.  Widener’s indoor track was a tenth of a mile long.  I ran the two mile race which meant I ran twenty laps around the track.  It felt like I was running around the dining room table at my house as I looped around the track.  I don’t know how long it took me to run the race, but I will always remember double lapping one of the runners from another school.  I know it sounds kind of mean now, but there was something comforting about knowing I was the slowest person out there.

I will always remember the winter track double dual meet at Lawrenceville Prep School.  At our high school, you only needed to score in one race to earn your varsity letter.  This meant I had to finish in third place against either one of the other schools.  Again, my coaches scheduled me to run the two mile on this eighth of a mile banked track.  If I remember correctly, our coaches only scheduled two runners from our high school to run the race.  My best friend and much faster runner, Brian, had already run a race or two earlier in the day, so he was not scheduled to run the two mile.  For some reason, I pushed for Brian to run the two mile along with me.  Naturally, he finished ahead of me.  As the race approached the finish, I was pushed out of third place into fourth place.  Finishing fourth meant I missed out on my varsity letter.  I guess it wasn’t meant to be.  I had to settle for a varsity letter in band and in academics.  What can I say?

Finally, I will always remember coming down the home stretch of the Raider Invitational Cross-Country Meet.  This was one of my faster races, and I remember the feeling of floating as I hit my stride about a hundred yards from the finish line.  I don’t think I was one of the “prettiest” runners, but my coach caught a picture of me as I approached the finish line, and the picture makes me look like I knew what I was doing.

These stories didn’t make it into my book, but there are several other stories worth reading in the book.

On Track – Life Lessons from the Track & Field is now available on Amazon in paperback and for Kindle.  Click the link below to get your copy today.

As a reminder, I am offering a FREE pdf copy of the interior of the book to subscribers of The Stretched Newsletter.  Head over to the main page of the blog and sign up on the right hand menu bar to get your copy today for FREE!

Share a story from your high school sports career in the comments.

Jon Stolpe


Christ-follower, husband, dad, engineer, manager, runner, blogger, sax player, group life fan, freelance writer, and the list goes on...
  • David Stolpe

    I didn’t really know this was how you felt about running, or that you struggled this much with it. I don’t want this to sound mean, but that is sour of comforting to me. As a kid I struggled academically and socially. Everything always seemed to come so easy to you and I won’t say of was jealous because I didn’t really want to be you, but I got tired of living in your shadow. Tired of teachers who had you two years prior asking why I couldn’t be more like you. Tired of watching you succeed while I floundered. I certainly don’t wish I’ll on you but I find it comforting to know when you struggle. It makes you more human and less super human and ity makes success for me seen a bit closer and attainable. Thanks Jon for your openness.

    • http://jonstolpe.com/ Jon Stolpe

      What can I say? I’m no where close to perfect.

  • Dan Erickson

    Congratulations on the book, John. I hope to do a post and Amazon review for you in the near future. I hope you are getting some good response from the book.

    • http://jonstolpe.com/ Jon Stolpe

      Thanks, Dan. Honestly, I wasn’t really sure what to expect. So I guess I’ve been pretty happy with the response. Writing and self-publishing the book has been a tremendous learning experience for me, and I’m hopeful that the book will encourage readers to stretch, to get on track, and to grow closer to God. If this happens (even to just one person), I consider the book a success.

  • http://deuceology.wordpress.com Larry Carter

    My favorite race was in high school. I listened to The Doors all the way to the cross country meet. I ran with some guys from my team who were not as talented as me, but worked harder. I only beat them because I knew the course better. I learned so many lessons from that race, but I only figured them out twenty years later.

    • http://jonstolpe.com/ Jon Stolpe

      Funny how that works. I wish I could run then with the knowledge I have now.