How Running Fosters my Positive Attitude

Wednesday, May 17, 2023

By: Piper Lentz, 2022 Female Recipient of the Amy Schuerholz Metz and Charm City Run Scholarship presented by Saucony

“What are you going to do – stop? No way.” That is what my teammate said to our relay squad right before the gun went off for the 4×800 at the New England Division 3 Indoor Championships. We stood huddled in our group overflowing with nerves and excitement while the rest of our team lined the track waiting to cheer us on. But with my teammate’s words, I was instantly brought back to one of my first runs ever. My dad had taken me to run the “Barn Loop” – a wooded trail that the entire Hereford cross country and track teams know by heart. As we ran, my eight-year-old self kept thinking, “I’m not going to stop, I’m not going to stop.” 

That one short phrase reminded me of where my running career started and the journey that led me to that moment; I was the anchor leg of receiving the baton as the anchor leg of Amherst College’s 4×800 at a high-stakes meet. In the beginning, I felt that running was something special to me. Granted, I was a kid, and running was special because I liked being fast and I thought it was cool to be in races. Gradually, the reason running felt so special to me developed into something a lot more meaningful.

I don’t think I could count the number of Charm City sponsored races I ran in as a kid. I loved the rush of adrenaline it would give me and the feeling of pure accomplishment as I crossed the finish line. That is why choosing to run cross country and track in high school was a no-brainer. High school was when I started to take running and my training seriously. I put my all into every practice – even when it was the dreaded “Darksides” hill workout (trust me, it lives up to the name). Day after day and year after year, I was “depositing money into the bank,” and it was paying off in my races. 

Throughout high school, I appreciated watching the progress I was making as a runner, but even more rewarding was the progress I was making as a person. Running never failed to put me in a wonderful mood, which helped me break out of my shell and grow into myself. When I say, “break out of my shell,” I really mean it. In his banquet speech to me, my coach quite literally said he barely knew what my voice sounded like during my freshman year. However, by the time I was a senior, mine was one of the voices most heard. Throughout high school, running built up my confidence and made me feel like I was where I was meant to be. 

This past year at Amherst College, I’ve encountered a new array of joys and challenges. There have been times when I’ve thrived and times when I’ve struggled, but no matter what, I turn to running to give me perspective. Whenever I start a run feeling upset after a difficult day, I inevitably finish feeling happy with myself. Running plays a major role in helping me maintain a positive attitude toward running itself (which is ironic, but I promise it’s true), my classes, and any adversity I face. Before, running was special to me because I felt fast and cool; now it is special because I know it is a home I can turn to for happiness after whatever life throws at me. 

To me, the Amy Schuerholz Metz scholarship represents preserving this positive attitude through terrifically strenuous workouts and intense classes. I’m so beyond grateful to have received this scholarship as it has given me the opportunity to focus on pursuing my academic interests while also competing in collegiate track and cross country. Just as my eight-year-old self promised herself she would not stop running, I promise to keep upholding the spirit of the Amy Schuerholz Metz and Charm City Run scholarship by continuing to have a positive outlook through college and beyond. 


Wednesday, May 17, 2023

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