Some athletes are born to be great. Tiger Woods, Derek Jeter, Lebron James and Peyton Manning are some examples. These athletes were born to play sports and are naturally good at what they do.
Weber State University’s Mike Hardy was born to be a runner.
Coming from Morgan, Utah, Hardy never imagined while growing up that he would become the runner he is today. In fact, throughout his high school career Hardy never ran with the cross-country team.
His senior year of high school, 2008, he achieved third place in both the 1,600 and 3,200 meter races of the 3A state championships. Hardy sent his race times into coaches at local colleges. Weber State, Utah State and Utah Valley were the major colleges he was considering. After reviewing these times the coaches contacted him. They had asked him what kind of workouts he was involved in and how much time he was devoting to getting better. After the coaches heard he was hardly spending any time running they were excited to recruit Hardy. It was like starting with a blank slate.
The summer following high school graduation was full of hard work and new training programs for Hardy. He proved his hard work and drive in his first season at Weber State by earning a varsity letter and becoming one of the top five runners on the cross-country team.
Hardy said great coaches and an awesome support system helped change an average athlete into an extraordinary one.
“Coach Pilkington is awesome. He has a lot to do with how good I am,” Hardy said.
Along with having a great coach, Hardy has found that having friends on the team to compete against is a major part of his competitiveness.
The 2011 cross-country season would help set the tone for the rest of Hardy’s career. He earned Big Sky Conference honors at the Big Sky Championships, placing sixth overall. Following that race, he took 31st at the 2011 NCAA Mountain Region Meet.
In the 2012 outdoor track season Hardy made it to the qualifying round of the NCAA nationals. This moment is one of his favorite memories of being a runner at WSU.
Many college athletes have to go through a season of redshirting. This means that they don’t participate in the games or competitive events. As an athlete you have the opportunity to redshirt at any time throughout your school career. Freshmen are the most common, yet a senior may redshirt too.
Fall of 2013 was the first time that he decided to redshirt. With time to think about his schooling and future after running he found it easy to relax and kind of get out of the fast pace life of being a full-time runner.
This season Hardy has demonstrated his great natural ability of being a runner.
Earlier this season Hardy earned the award of being Big Sky cross-country athlete of the week. Hardy is looking forward to a great year.
“It’s the last year. I can’t leave anything behind,” Hardy said. “I have to leave on a good note.”