Winning a Race with Determination

As sweat trickles down his forehead, junior Jason Nguyen crosses the finish line at the Race for the Cure marathon in October. Feeling thrilled, he cools off as his friends cheer and congratulate him. 

For Nguyen, running is more than a hobby; it is a lifestyle.

“I guess I was just born with the blood,” he said. “I just love to run.”

What started off as a way to prove people wrong turned into Nguyen’s love and passion for running.

“My strongest motivation was when everyone looked down on me as a freshman,” Nguyen said. “I was competing in a marathon against [Eric] Dunlap and everyone thought I was going to lose.”  

Despite the discouraging comments, Nguyen finished the Conoco Philips Rodeo Run with a better time than science teacher Eric Dunlap.

“Most people crumble under negativity from their peers pushing down on them, but no matter how hard they bonecrushingly push you down, the most amazing thing you can do is convert that into motivation and prove them wrong.”

Science teacher Eric Dunlap is known to be an eager runner, often seen walking or biking to and from school.

“It’s good to run because if you stop and you can’t run, you might die,” Dunlap said. “I try to run at least once a week, which is not enough, but that’s what I do.”

English paraprofessional Luci Siminic is also an avid runner who competes in marathons as an easy way to maintain her health. She started running in 1981 as an inexpensive way to exercise and lose weight.

“Well, I was overweight when I first started [to run],” Siminic said. “I was over 132 pounds at 5’1”, and that was a lot for me, so I started running.”

Siminic believes that running is very rewarding because it feels as if she has accomplished something. It makes her feel good to maintain her health for her body, and by the end of the day she feels great because she exercised.

“I’m proud of the fact that I’ve been able to successfully run and exercise for so many years,” Siminic said. “[I’m also] proud to be able to do the 26.2 after all those times. But really, feeling physically fit is a very big accomplishment.”

As for Nguyen, he will participate again in the 26th annual ConocoPhillips Rodeo Run on February 23.