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No Stress For Prep Star Drew Hunter
In Upcoming Millrose Mile

by Jeff Hollobaugh

Hunter Drew1b Armory1bHot off his 3 High School Records in the 3000 and 1500/mile, Drew Hunter is preparing to return to New York’s Armory to race at Millrose on Saturday. This time, he says, the pressure is off.

“I’m still sick,” the Loudoun Valley senior says of the cold bug that nipped him a few days before his historic 3:58.25. “We'll see how I’m feeling the next couple of days but I hope that I can run a little faster. Still, the pressure is off right now. In talking to my parents and coach, all I have to do now is just race that mile, and not worry about times. Just go out there and have fun. It's a good feeling, and I think it will be good to test myself. The only job I have to do in that race is just race.”

Millrose’s mile will be the last individual race of Hunter’s indoor season, so fans hoping to see him go after Edward Cheserek’s national record of 8:39.15 in the 2-mile may be disappointed. “I'm actually doing the New Balance Indoor, but not in individual events. I'm doing the DMR and the 4 x mile with my team just to have some fun.”

Has the initiation into the sub-4:00 club changed anything for the Oregon-bound star? Not so much, he says. “My entire life I've never settled. I've always thought to the biggest and highest goals. It's just a building block to continue to get better and better throughout this entire season. I can check it off and be proud of it, but I just want to get back to work and go after my other goals.”

One thing that has changed is how he deals with the media, since he now finds himself turning down more interview offers than he accepts. “It's nothing personal,” he explains. “It's just that I'm still a high school kid, and I still have a life outside of running. I don't want it to get any worse… It's kind of getting a little overwhelming. I just have got to be smart about it.”

The lingering cold he’s been battling didn’t bother him in the record mile, he says. But it did the next day: “It affected me recovery-wise. I haven't really gotten over it, but I think during the race, the adrenaline took over. I'm a competitive person, so I just raced. I pushed that to the side. I still haven't really recovered. I haven't had great workouts recently because I've still been fighting this illness. I think that race definitely took a lot out of me.”

With his eyes firmly focused on his future, Hunter is completely aware that his recent marks aren’t causing anyone in Kenya to lose sleep at night. “I know that there are people out there that are faster than me, and that's just more motivation. I know when I get to college, I'm going to get in some races and lose. To me, that's all motivating.

“I don't think losing is necessarily a defeat or a failure. I think it is something you can use and learn from and apply to the next race or apply it to your training. Get out there in the next race and learn from that and use it to win or just run faster.

“I know there are people faster than me. I don't really care that I'm 18 and racing 25-year-olds. I still want to race them. I'm just a competitive person, and I want to race the best. And the best thing right now for me is to race people who are a little bit older.”

February 16, 2016