PLYMOUTH – Some of us may not fully understand it but Plymouth senior Jeff Oliver is one of those people who loves running.
“Workouts at different times of the year are different,” he said. “Sometimes in the summer I’ll stretch it out and run 10-12 miles a day.”
While many people may not even drive that far in a day, that love of running will take Oliver on to college. He made it official this week that he had decided to continue his education and cross country track career at the University of St. Francis in Fort Wayne. He plans to major in business management.
“I visited Ball State and Manchester too,” said Oliver. “Manchester was nice and all that but I like the setting in Fort Wayne. There’s always going to be something to do.”
And obviously a lot more places to do his favorite “something to do” – run. It’s something that he says he’s always loved.
“I don’t know it’s just like it’s something that’s always been there since day one,” he said. “I wrestled for awhile too but I wasn’t as happy with that. I just like to get out and run. It’s kind of a stress reliever.”
Jeff ran cross country for four years at PHS, will run track for his fourth year this spring and qualified to run in the IHSAA Semi-State cross country meet the past two years.
“It’s a totally different type of running,” said Oliver comparing his cross country and track seasons. “In cross country you have to deal with the elements. You have to deal with mud, grass, is there dew on the ground, the weather. Everything is different on every course. You deal a little with the elements in track, but really every track is pretty much the same.”
Training is different too.
“Since track season is coming up I’ve been running sprints – two miles at a faster pace,” said Oliver. “I don’t take any days off really. If I miss a week it pretty much eliminates all the progress I’ve made over the past couple of years. I don’t like going backwards.”
College is about adjustment and Jeff is already preparing in several ways.
“One thing about St. Francis is that it’s small and I like the fact that if I need any help in class or whatever I can get it,” he said. “I’ve got to get used to running a 10K instead of a 5K but I’m kind of looking forward to that.”
St. Francis will open their cross country season in September. The indoor track season begins in January, while the outdoor track season will begin in March.
Jeff is the son of John and Michelle Oliver. After getting his degree he hopes to come home and help with the family business, Oliver Ford-Lincoln.
“The thing that attracts me about running is the people you meet,” he said. “All kinds of different people are runners and your team mates are the reason you run. They are the inspiration that gets you going.”