There’s nothing casual about the effort that goes into running for North Hall’s Quintin Miles. He’s running hard all year and building endurance for the grind of cross country season.
All those miles paid off for the Trojans junior in 2013 to the tune of a Region 7-AAA championship and a third-place finish in the Class AAA championship race at Carrollton. For his efforts, Miles is The Times’ Boys Cross Country Runner of the Year.
“All my teammates really motivated me to do my best this season,” Miles said. “I couldn’t have had this success without my teammates, coaches and parents.”
At region, Miles ran his best race of the season with a fast start, steady pace and strong sprint to the finish at Unicoi State Park with a time of 15 minutes, 54 seconds, clipping Dawson County’s Dylan Forester by a mere second. Then at state, he turned in a time of 16:44 for third at Carrollton. Earlier in the season, Miles turned in a new personal best with a 15:27 at the Asics Invitational.
The win at Asics was his first on the season. Miles entered the season considered No. 2 on the team, by his own accounts, behind frontrunner Bryce Schuebert. After that, Miles took the lead and assumed the leadership banner and now one season still left in his high school career.
Miles set the tone with an excruciating summer workout that finished at 722 miles, or a more easily digestible number: nine miles per day. Every day, he would lace up the shoes and head out from the high school. Many days he and other Trojans runners would stay in the general vicinity on the school’s campus. On a long run of about 18 miles,
Miles said they would sometimes cross over into Lumpkin County. North Hall’s region champion said those long miles are beneficial to building a stronger base and leg strength to handle the faster pace of the 3.1-mile distance on race day.
“I’m always trying to get ready for the race — physically and mentally,” Miles said.
That exhaustive distance training made the difference when it came time for the region championship meet Oct. 31 in Helen. Miles employed what he knew would be a high-risk, high-reward strategy when he got to the race.
He decided to jump out front early and hope to keep enough energy in the tank to sustain himself through the finish line.
It worked. It was also exciting for fans to see the battle unfold as the top two runners approached the flat straightaway to the finish line chute on the mountain course. Almost the entire race, Forester was breathing down his neck as both talented runners kept it close to the very end.
Miles thought it was his only strategy to win the race.
“That was my favorite race of the year,” Miles said. “That was a risky strategy, taking the lead early.”