MCHS track team members to run Down Under
By Jonathan Branch
A pair of Morgan County High School students will spend the next week in Australia representing Georgia on the National Southeast Conference Cross Country Team.
Gladdie Kriemann, a rising senior, and Zach Stone, a rising junior, flew out Sunday, June 24 to be a part of the Down Under Sports cross country program that invites runners across the world to the nine day event.
Stone and Kriemann traveled to Dallas via Atlanta Sunday before leaving the U.S. for Brisbane, Australia. The two joined a pair of fellow Georgia runners in the program.
They will race in the Down Under All-American 5K Challenge Tuesday at Pizzey Park in Miami, Queensland. On Saturday, the duo will race in the International 5K Challenge as part of the Gold Coast Airport Marathon, an event that features over 4,000 runners annually from all over the world.
Kriemann said he expects to run well and hopes to set a personal record in one of the races.
“I am expecting to run pretty well,” said Kriemann. “I would like to run in the low 18:00s or possibly high 17:00s. It’s hard to say because of the temperature and altitude difference.
Hopefully it will be a nice, cool week and the lower altitude will help me reduce my time.”
Stone suffered a minor setback before leaving for Australia. The rising junior injured his knee during training last week, forcing him to miss the final week of training.
“I had an MRI, and it showed inflammation deep in the illiotibial band,” said Stone, who received a steroid shot prior to the trip to help calm the injury.
Still, Stone expects to do well.
“I am excited about the opportunity to train with new people and coaches,” said Stone who, along with Kriemann, has been training with Doug Root from Ohio and Mike Naples, of Madison. “The competition will be tough. There will be a lot of runners who are faster, but I want to finish strong.”
Kriemann and Stone have worked for nearly three months to raise funds to cover the cost of the trip, which totaled $4,500 for each runner.
“We have been working, doing a lot of different things to earn money—yard work, filing, power washing,” said Stone who works as a lifeguard at the Morgan County Aquatic Center. “I want to thank everyone who helped us. The trip wouldn't have been possible if it weren't for generous donations from family, friends, and our community.”
“Several people and organizations donated to help me go on this trip,” added Kriemann. “There are too many to name, but along with my relatives, there were individuals in my church family at Grace Fellowship, Zach's church at Gathering Madison, and local businesses who were all very generous.”
When the two aren’t running during their trip, they will have opportunities to sightsee and enjoy activities in the Great Barrier Reef area like surfing, fishing, rain forest tours, whale watching, snorkeling and kayaking.
The two will spend a day in Sydney before returning to the States on July 2.
Printed in the June 28, 2012 edition