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What looks like just another open field is a training ground for New Mexico’s best distance runner right now, Kirtland Central’s Kashon Harrison.  The senior is putting in more mileage to hopefully join some elite talent at a national event.

“It’s kind of hard, but all you have to do is believe in yourself and just take the pain,” said Harrison.

As a freshman he finished third at the state cross country meet. His sophomore season he was runner up.

“Every time when you lose a race you build up to improve and find that motivation within yourself and with others who believe in you.”

Last November, as a junior, Harrison won his first state cross country title, becoming the second member of his family to win one.  His dad won Kirtland Central’s first individual title back in 2000.

“I started when I was small, my dad was a runner back then.  When it came to elementary school, I kind of quit over the years.  I only ran one year and I was a little chubby and a slow kid.  When I started to grow up, once I went to middle school, I wanted to run cross country just to stay fit.  I didn’t realize I was one of the top athletes and started improving from then to right now.”

A year ago, Harrison posted a career-best time at a regional race in Arizona.  His goal is to top that time this year.

“My goal this year is to try and beat my PR which is 14:49. When I ran in Twilight I was one second off, close to beating my PR again.  Right now, my coach Lenny (Esson) is trying to help me improve and right now I feel really great.”

Harrison won the Footlocker West Regional last December and advanced to nationals. All his training this year is leading up to getting there again.

“I heard from some people that there’s no secret to beat the top runners, you just have to put in the hard work.”

Harrison hasn’t made his college choice yet, but is considering Oklahoma, Colorado, Oregon, Northern Arizona and Syracuse.

Stride after stride, Harrison gets one step closer to his goal.

The Laguna Burger State Cross Country Championships will be run at Rio Rancho High School on November 10th.


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