Elizabethton High senior turns in solid performance at Myrtle Beach Marathon

By Ivan Sanders

For many, just getting to the race is enough gratification. That was not enough for Elizabethton High School senior Luke Carrier.
   Carrier traveled to Myrtle Beach, S.C. on February 9 of this year to compete in the 26.2-mile Myrtle Beach Marathon.
   Not only did he compete, but he finished 315 out of 3,500 runners, finishing fifth in his age group. Carrier's course time was three hours and forty-three minutes.
   "'Marathon' is a scary name and a scary distance to a lot of people," stated Carrier. "A lot of people tell me they can't run a mile or walk one either, but it isn't as hard as people may think."
   To make matters even more complicated, Carrier was battling a severe ankle injury that had prohibited his training for two weeks before the scheduled marathon.
   Said Carrier: "I really did a lot of praying and God healed me. I am very grateful for the fact he touched my ankle to allow me to participate. I did have to change my running style to make some compensation, so my ultimate goal was just to finish."
   Running is a sport that requires a lot of perseverance over so many things. That might tie back into why many elect not to even look at the sport because of the trials and difficulty involved.
   One of Carrier's friends, Andy Ross, stated something once that stuck in the back of his mind.
   "Running is a lot like Christianity," stated Ross. "It's a long and trying path."
   The love of running for Carrier was instilled in him by Mrs. Judy Richardson, a teacher at Harold McCormick. Richardson sponsored a yearly walk-run and the passion just fell on Carrier to continue on through his middle and high school years.
   So how did Carrier get his motivation to run a marathon one might ask?
   "We just began talking about it at this year's state cross-country meet," said Carrier. "It was decided in our conversation that a marathon was the ultimate challenge for runners and everyone should try at least one."
   Preparing for a marathon requires a different set of game plans than cross-country.
   Carrier commented: " A marathon is longer than the whole cross-country season, so it takes more effort to build up distance. It takes a lot of discipline, training, and motivation. These things always challenge me so I took it upon myself not only to run one, but to finish one as well."
   Carrier felt he could not have finished the race if he had not received encouragement from a stranger he ran the course with.
   "Having a great running partner to encourage you really helps," quipped Carrier. "I know I could not have made it without the support and encouragement of this individual."
   Many feel that the sport of running is trying, but it does come with some side benefits.
   Added Carrier: "I want to run as much as I can. It is very refreshing and peaceful to me because it allows me to release a lot of things that get bottled up inside. It also gives you a lot of confidence, not to mention making you feel better."
   Carrier also expressed the sentiment that running is an indescribable experience that cannot be relayed unless someone has actually tried it.
   He may not be the next New York Marathon winner, but Carrier is looking at another avenue at this time.
   "I have been accepted at Covenant and Milligan, including making both soccer teams," stated Carrier. " It's just a hard decision to decide on which one to attend."
   The question now is, "Would you try running a marathon again Mr. Carrier?"
   With a large smile that could only come from a young man who has his priorities in good order, Carrier replied with a resounding yes.
   Remember, the next time you see hundreds of runners passing in front of your television set, it might behoove you to see if you can recognize Luke.
   If he has anything to say about it, he'll be in the group leading the pack.