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  • Writer's pictureJack Mullaney

To Give Anything Less Than Your Best

Earlier this week, I was listening to a podcast about the Hakone Ekiden, Japan's infamous university-level relay race that about half of the country tuned in to watch. The episode featured Brett Larner, creator of Japan Running News, one of the best English language websites for updates on the running scene in the country.

As someone who dreams of seeing the United States embrace our sport the way the Japanese support the Hakone Ekiden, I was immediately captivated by what Brett had to say.

But what grabbed my attention was a quote he shared at the end of the show that reveals the selfless nature of the ekiden. It's a twist on the infamous Steve Prefontaine quote: "To give anything less than your best is to sacrifice the gift."

"The attitude here, which I think encapsulates everything ekiden is about," Larner said, "is to give anything less than your best is to sacrifice everyone else's gifts."

As we embark on perhaps the most unique cross country season the NCAA has seen in awhile, that quote sets a tone for any team who wants to be competitive. Success requires more than the work of any one individual.

Everyone must use their gift.

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