World-Class Babysitters and Running with Capybaras: Q&A with Cross Country Runner David Eik

Interview by BEN HALL

David Eik is a Junior runner for the CC Men’s Cross Country team who shined this past weekend at the Tiger’s first home meet of the season. At the opener, CC was the only division III school racing against five division II schools. Eik set the pace for the team and posted a team-best 40th-place finish overall. As a captain last year, Eik earned all-SCAC honors at the conference championship and helped lead the team to a conference title and a 6th place regional finish.

Ben Hall : Last year, the cross country teams were conference champions. How do you feel about your chances to repeat this year?

David Eik: It’ll definitely be tough to repeat our conference title because we lost a few of our top seven for this season. That being said, we have a lot of fresh talent coming in and a lot of returners who had a great summer of training, so there’s a lot of excitement coming into the season. But we definitely can’t take the title for granted.

BH: Your first meet of the season was two Fridays ago. How did you feel about the race you ran compared to this saturday?

DE: I thought this was a really good way to start the season… the race was a series of 2k loops and [freshman teammate] Paul and I ended up negative splitting every 2k loop, and we felt great. We could’ve run faster, but we ran a really well executed race. This saturday was a great race. I felt in control, competitive and competent on the course.

BH: Who’s your professional athlete role model?

DE: Growing up, my professional athlete role models were Ryan and Sarah Hall. I have a personal connection since Sarah was my babysitter. I’ve really enjoyed watching their athletic and professional development as well as their own personal development. I’ve modeled my own athletic experience after theirs because I think they have a really nice balance going on.

BH: Who’s your CC athlete role model?

DE: I’d have to say Connor [Terhune]. He was a junior when I came to CC, and I really looked up to him because he’s super dedicated and he really exhibited all the characteristics that I wanted to embody as a runner. He was a great resource for me, not just athletically but also emotionally and academically throughout my transition into CC. I think he had a huge impact on me and I hope to be a similar role model to all the freshmen coming in this year.

BH: If you had to pick one other sport to play instead of XC, what would it be?

DE: I’m going to say ultimate frisbee, because you get to run fast and chase things, and it’s fun.

BH: What do you think about on long training runs?

DE: Sometimes nothing, sometimes everything, sometimes in between that… it really depends on the run. Sometimes I’m thinking about literally nothing, and I just let my mind go blank, and it’s kind of a relief. Sometimes, if it’s a nice trail run I’m looking at all the nature around me and appreciating that, and it’s really awesome. Sometimes, I use running as a way to cope with the things going on in my life, so I think about personal things and run through situations in my head. Sometimes I imagine racing and the tactics that go into that. It really depends. On long runs, you have a lot of time to think.

BH: Would you say that what you think about on long runs is pretty similar to what you think about in the shower, because that’s kind of what it sounds like to me.

DE: Yeah, exactly, it’s really similar to being in the shower…yeah, I’ve never made that connection, but I think running is a really great escape and also a great way to confront things that are going on in your life.

BH: What’s the ideal exotic pet that you would want to own and take on runs with you?

DE: Well, when you first said exotic pet my mind went immediately to a capybara, but a capybara couldn’t run with me unless I carried it… I feel like I’d like to have an antelope, because a lot of the time I really resonate with antelopes when I’m trail running… Antelope for running, capybara for home.

BH: What’s something you wish people knew or understood about your sport?

DE: That cross country isn’t just an individual sport. A lot of people say that cross country’s an individual sport, but actually one of the reasons why I’m still doing it is because of the team aspect… The team extends beyond racing — going to lifts, doing workouts, going on trail runs together, hanging out together outside of practice — it’s such a great dynamic and such a great group of people to be around!

BH: What’s your favorite memory from last year’s season?

DE: As far as running itself, definitely winning conference. When we heard that we won, it felt like my heart was just singing with joy… another good one was when [head coach Ted Castaneda] rented our cars in Portland, Maine, instead of Portland, Oregon, so we showed up at the rental car place in Oregon and our vans were in Maine.

BH: Is there anything else you want the people to know, David?

DE: Always remember to keep the crunch in your life.

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