This week we chat with Eric Blicker, cross country coach at Lennard High School.
Blicker, 33, is from Miami and has been coaching at Lennard since the school opened eight years ago. He sat down to talk about cross country as a sport and his team’s season this fall.
Q: What are some of the benefits of running cross country?
Answer: It is a great way to get in shape and compete, but ultimately it’s an opportunity to challenge and conquer the preconceived notions of what your physical and mental limits are.
Q: Could you tell me something about your sport that most people don’t know?
Answer: People always assume that, since it is 3.1 miles long, you are running forever. The reality is, if you do it right, it takes very little time.
Q: Can you describe the most grueling conditions possible for a cross country runner?
Answer: In Florida, the biggest challenge is always the heat and humidity. You don’t have to look very hard to see the evidence. The heat has crippled many great pro runners, so it just goes to show how tough these high schoolers really are.
Q: What are your goals for Lennard’s cross country team this season?
Answer: The goal is the same as every year: exceed expectations. Each year is different with how many runners come back, but I always try to show them how to get more out of themselves than anyone thought possible.
Q: Who is the greatest runner you’ve ever seen?
Answer: Haile Gebrselassie. He dominated every distance he raced. He ran unbelievable times into his forties.