Get to Know Men’s XC SCAC Champion Max Blackburn


Max Blackburn is a sophomore on the men’s cross country team. This past weekend, Blackburn was crowned conference champion at the SCAC conference meet in Seguin, Texas. He and the rest of the men’s cross country team, who placed second at conference, will be competing at the NCAA D3 West Regional meet in Claremont, California this weekend.

Photo courtesy of Charlie Lengal

Ben Hall: What non-pedal form of transportation would you use to characterize your relationship with running?

Max Blackburn: I would say my relationship with running is kind of like a motorcycle. Fast and reckless.

BH: The night before a race, what’s on your plate?

MB: I usually go Italian the night before a big meet. Pasta, carbs, more carbs, as many carbs as I can get… long, slow-burning fuel for the next day. More importantly though: morning [fuel]. What do you eat at 7 a.m. when you’re competing at 9 a.m.?

BH: I don’t eat anything. I can’t eat within three hours of jumping.

MB: Well, I have toast, peanut butter, and sliced banana on top, depending on what time the race is. If we have a 10 o’clock race I’ll have two slices of toast with peanut butter and banana, but if it’s a nine o’clock race, and I’m still eating at 7:30, I’ll only have one.

BH: Do you have a favorite story about head XC coach Ted Castaneda?

MB: My favorite Ted story is about the time that he set the American record in the 5k, back in 1973. It was in the prelims for the NCAA meet. There were two heats and Ted was in the first heat, and he broke the American record! However, the previous record holder, Steve Prefontaine, perhaps the most famous runner of all time, was running in the next heat. Prefontaine, then again, reset the American record. So Ted did have an American record for approximately 20 minutes.

BH: You get to go on a run with anyone, living or dead, but with one caveat: they can’t speak English. Who do you choose, and what type of run do you go on?

MB: Modifying your question, I would want to go on a run with Ted back when he ran for CU Boulder. As far as where the run would be, I would say it would be most appropriate to do a nice, long mountain run through the ranges.

BH: At the Cross Country Conference meet you ran an 8k. Come this May, at the conference track meet, what events are you going to be running?

MB: I haven’t quite decided what event I want to run for track this year. Last year I focused mostly on the 1500 and 800, but I’d also like to run some good times in the 5k [this year]. I’ll probably not touch the 10k this year… come conference, we’ll see where everyone is, and where we can score points, and so if the team needs me in the 5k, I’ll run the 5k.

BH: Regionals is coming up this weekend, what’s going through your mind?

MB: Our region is a very competitive region. Some of the best guys in our region are some of the best in the nation right now. I’d just like to go out there, see how I stack up against those guys, and do my best… see if I can get all-region this year, which would be pretty exciting. Just have a good race, and have a good time.

BH: You have flowing, luxuriant hair. What’s your hair product of choice?

MB: My hair product of choice is certainly Mane ‘n Tail. During the primary growth period of my hair expedition I only used Mane ‘n Tail.

BH: Right on. Mane ‘n Tail, obviously an homage to horses, which leads to my next question: which is better, seahorses or real horses, and why?

MB: Well, I would say different strokes for different folks, but real horses are better. A real horse is a kind, caring animal, whereas seahorses hate each other and are really quite rude.

BH: Is that ecologically accurate? Because I won’t do the research but I will believe it if you tell me it is.

MB: I can guarantee you

BH: What seasoning do you identify with as you run?

MB: I would say the green Tabasco.

BH: What’s the rationale there?

MB: Because it’s damn good.

BH: And at running, you are damn good as well.

MB: Your words, not mine, Ben.

BH: Fair enough. Good luck at regionals this weekend, my friend.

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