Ericka had quite a few highlights and happiest moments in 2019. Truth, she had two rough seasons, and, at times, found it difficult to maintain her passion for the competition. I believe every athlete has times when they question whether to quit or keep grinding. Ericka made the decision to keep going.
Her finest moments of 2019 was the opportunity to travel and compete in several high-performance races such as Festival of Miles, Ed Murphey Classic, Florida Relays, etc. Additionally, Ericka qualified for the 2019 Toyota USATF Indoor Nationals in the 600m and setting PRs three times in this event during the Indoor season.
Ericka became a member of New Balance RDU and found a comfortable position as the only girl on the team of cool guys. They bonded and had fun racing on the roads and XC races such as the Mill Chill 4-miler, Raleigh City Cross Country Championships, and the New Balance Turkey Trot.
Fun events like the Sir Walter Raleigh RunDown Downhill Mile and Sir Walter Miler helped reignite Ericka’s love for competition. Ericka set a new road Mile PR of 4:46.50 and clinched the win. She represented the Bond Brothers Beer run group for the Brewery Throwdown at the Mill Chill 4 Miler while running a new 4-mile road PR; as well as winning the Sir Walter Miler Run Club 4x400m mixed relay for the 2nd year in a row.
2020 is going to be Ericka’s most exciting season! She is preparing to return to Albuquerque for the 2020 Toyota USATF Indoor Nationals in February, and, the 2020 Olympic Trials this summer.
October is Bullying Prevention and Awareness Month. Being on the Autism Spectrum growing up, I was constantly bullied in school and taken advantage of. Thanks to Coach Cheryl Bowden, Durham School of the Arts, for insisting; as well as encouraging me to join her track team in middle school, “running” saved me from the constant bullying I faced everyday. I was respected by everyone who mistreated me. My small advice for dealing with bullies – hold your head up high and perform really well in your extracurricular activities or other talents you have😎
The first question most people ask, “how long do you think Ericka can continue to run?” I find the question relatively silly, because, I do not have a clue as to how long, as in years left, she can continue to run. Okay, let’s get it out in the open. Ericka is 30 years old. I cannot change the year she was born. Nor do I wish to dangle this fact over her head. What I see, and what I fuel is her passion TO run. Anyone can see Ericka loves to run. It is who she is.
I appreciate our road trips because it gives Ericka and I a chance to talk. Radio off. Mobile devices put away. This is our time to get into agreement on certain things. Throughout our track journey, I’ve learned a great deal about keeping what is essential to my greater good, and eliminating waste.
We cannot change the outcome of her races once she has crossed the finish line, however, we are grateful for every race as it is a learning tool for subsequent races. Our most recent discussion led us to agree to do what we love. There we both found instant peace and joy. Isn’t that what life’s all about?
The next time we are approached on the topic of Ericka’s age, I’m simply going to respond, “Ericka will most likely stop running when her passion for the sport runs out” Periodt. https://youtu.be/p0p1fjLPjYQ