You better run 55!

Beth Haley (’02)

In 3:54, you can bust a move on the dance floor, put on your makeup, spend quality time with your dog, or you can—against all odds—qualify for Nationals at a Last Chance meet in Seward, Nebraska.

The outlook for our 4 x 400 relay appeared as dark as the weather. Not only was there a heavy storm oppressing the track meet, but a tornado blew by, postponing the meet. It was 11 p.m.—and our only competitors were Concordia’s distance runners.

It came down to us—our relay. Eyes on watches. Splits calculated. As I seized that baton as anchor leg, I realized I had the most excited man on the track, Ted Bulling, chasing after me.

“You better run 55!”

Those five words nearly put me in cardiac arrest, as Ted literally sprinted the first 25 meters with me as a subtle reminder of the importance of qualifying.

By the time I got to the final stretch, there was a tunnel of faces—friends and strangers—pushing me through the end. In 3:54.

Everyone knew our predicament, and stuck by us in our last chance. Parents stayed, teammates rallied and lifted us up. Sometimes, you run inspired. Not because of anything you did, but because of the people who truly, completely believe in you when every odd is against you.