Fluvanna County senior Chris Markham says he got into distance running by accident.
"Sophomore year, I decided to run cross-country as like a conditioning for basketball so I could make it, and then I was all-district that year, and I've stuck with it ever since, and it's just been a dream come true," he said.
"I had a spot for an 800 runner and I just asked him, 'hey, I've got a spot do you want to run an 800 meters?' says Fluvanna track and cross-country coach Tom Casto. "He ran it really well, and all of a sudden we moved him over to the distance group and he just took off from there. He's definitely taken over the lead as the top runner at the school."
When Markham started running, he didn't know what he could achieve or even what he wanted to achieve.
"When he wrote his card out, for as far as what his goals are as a new athlete, his goal was 'I don't know," said Casto.
Now, Markham has become a regular at setting and achieving goals. Last season in outdoor track, he set out to make it to states in the 2 mile.
"My goal was to make it there, and I made it there, and this season is to place top-eight, which I think it can happen," said Markham.
Casto thinks it can happen, too. "The big thing is he's put in the mileage. He has the mileage to back him up. It's amazing, when I go out and run sometimes, I'll see him all the time running around.
"He's always putting in his mileage, and he's encouraging the other guys to put in their mileage. He's a great athlete and a great leader."
As a senior in indoor track, Markham was striving for a top-eight finish in the 1000 meters. He fell just short, and says that has given him renewed motivation for his final season of outdoor.
"It's definitely something I think about everyday at practice, because after the race I knew it would be really close, and I looked at the results and it was .03," said Markham. "That number has been wedged in my head for about a month now."
Another number Markham is striving for is to graduate in the top 10-percent of his class. As the senior class secretary and an editor of the school newspaper, he wants to add one more honor to his resume.
"Last year I watched graduation, I watched people with honors graduate and I was like, 'wow I hope that's me next year.' So now that I have that chance, I want to go after it."
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