McDaid makes Ursinus Cross Country history

Photo courtesy of David Morgan/Stylish Images Junior James McDaid became the first Ursinus runner to earn All-Centennial Conference honors when he finished in 14th place overall at the Conference Championships at Haverford.

Sam Rosenthal

Do you have the guts to go the distance? The battles a cross country runner faces in every race take endurance, courage, and a unique ability to will themselves over the finish line. For Ursinus runner James McDaid, it’s an extreme sport.

McDaid said, “…it’s not just about running in a circle, but it’s about not falling asleep when no one’s watching you in the trails, and not letting that runner drop you on the toughest hill you’ve ever run on.”

Training for cross-country is challenging, and the commitment is intense. College level cross- country runners take on 8-kilometer courses. They sometimes do it on rough terrain, steep hills, and cold weather. The difficult conditions provide some of the best training opportunities for runners.

“I believe that the best way to get better at running is to accept that there is never a bad time to run, meaning you’ll have to learn to run through snow, or run on very hot days, or wake up at 5:30 to get in 20 miles before getting to work at 9am. Sometimes you just have to forget about your watch and forget your goal pace and just run as hard as you can.” McDaid said.

Cross-country is also a very psychological sport. Not just in the ability to push yourself, but in the way you intimidate others with your confident running. Speeding up when an opposing runner is slowing down can deter their ability to keep pushing.

“It was just about who want- ed the spot more. My only regret is not making a move earlier and getting [ahead of] one or two more guys!” – James McDaid Class of 2020

“With less than 600 meters to go, I was fighting for the 14th spot, and I knew with the terrible conditions and the beaten up course that it would be a guts race, and it was just about who wanted the spot more. My only regret is not making a move ear- lier and getting [ahead of] one or two more guys.” McDaid said.

James McDaid got 14th place in the Centennial Conference Championship race at Haverford with a time of 26:11.5 on Oct. 27. This is the best any Ursinus runner has ever done at the event.

McDaid has his eyes set on the future. He said, “Being on the all conference team is cool, especially standing next to guys who will without a doubt be at NCAAs in a few weeks, and it gives me a little more confidence that I have a shot at going to nattys. I wouldn’t say I’ve made Ursinus history yet, but once I win a conference championship and qualify for nationals a few times I could tell you how it feels.”