To Joseph Copeland (12), running is more than just about winning races, however that didn’t stop him from placing sixth at the Duneland Athletic Conference on Sept. 30.

“When I started running, I thought it would be more of a hobby and kind of just an activity than kind of one of my focuses throughout high school, and I definitely didn’t think that even last year I could’ve won the DAC,” Copeland said.

Even though Copeland didn’t win this year, his past accomplishments have pushed him to exceed his own expectations and achieve feats as a senior. Copeland’s passion for running has caused some of his teammates to see him as a role model.

“It’s nice having all the freshman and the other [underclassmen] looking up to you, and it’s nice to be able to show them what they should be doing in high school, what they should be focused on [and] how they should be working to better their futures,” Copeland said.

Running has always been known for its benefits physically and mentally. Although that may be the truth, Copeland states that running can still pose a significant challenge to the runner, both internally and externally.

“Racing is a lot more mental than it is physical and being able to overcome all the stress from school and your social groups and at home is definitely a big challenge,” Copeland said.

The younger runners who are striving to compete like Copeland may need a little help to push them to reach the greatness that they strive for. Copeland thinks that what holds these runners back is not one big problem they are missing, but many little mistakes that stack up over time.

“You may think not paying attention to the little things like making sure you completely go around the corners, making sure you aren’t slacking off during stretches [and] making sure you are eating right [doesn’t] have a big impact on how you race and how you’re able to practice and perform, but those little things turn into some of the biggest things when it comes down to it, and it really matters,” Copeland said.

Copeland isn’t planning on running for college, but he is going to start training for marathons and other big races during college.

“Through running, I have definitely received more consideration from colleges and other organizations that can help me through my studies, but aside from that I’ve met tons of people that have taught me things and values that I should work to better [myself] throughout life,” Copeland said.