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Race day is almost here! Between now and then we are featuring Hogeye runners past, present, and future in the “Meet a #HogeyeHopeful” series. If you’d like to share YOUR story, please contact racedirector@hogeyemarathon.com — we want to hear from you!

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Meet Makaela! Makaela_Hogeye Hopeful

We asked Makaela a few questions that will help you get to know her better as a runner and as a #HogeyeHopeful. Thanks for chatting with us, Makaela!

Hometown: Spring Hill, Kansas
Profession: Student at K-State (Go Cats!)
Age: 20

When did you start running?
I started officially running spring of my freshman year of high school for the track team.

WHY did you start running?
I grew up playing sports. At my high school, in the fall, there wasn’t a sport that I normally did so I decided to go out for the track team. I loved track so much that the following spring I went out for the cross country team.

Where do you prefer to run? Do you have a favorite route?
I love running outside. There is only so much to look at while inside. My favorite place to run would be when I visit family in Wyoming and I have a perfect view of the mountains. Being from Kansas, I’m not use to seeing mountains everyday so they are a beautiful little perk I get to see.

What was your “I’M A RUNNER!” moment?
For sure when I ran in high school. My first year on the track team our relays were placing at every meet. We took our relays to state each year as well then my senior year I went for the mile. During cross country when I joined as a sophomore there were no older girls on the team, so I became the leader and placed in the top 10 at every meet.

If you could go back and give yourself a piece of advice as a beginner, what would it be?
I would tell myself to work out on the weekends, too. I took them as my off days, but I know I could of become better if I would of worked more for it.

What has running taught you about yourself?
Sooooo much! It’s something that I love and I want to become better race after race. It helps me set goals and beat them. With running I have found the meaning of “When your legs can’t run anymore, run with your heart”

Do you run solo or with a group?
I prefer solo. I listen to music…and even sing sometimes. But a run with a friend or two is never bad.

What motivates you in running? Medals? PRs? Fitness?
All of the above! In high school it was the medals that I love getting week after week. It’s also a great feeling seeing your name on record boards. Now out of high school it motivates me to get better and beat my PR at races. Running is my main fitness that I do while being a college student. Also my brother-in-law is a motivation. He is in the Army and recently graduated ranger school. Physically what he goes through, I feel like running is something easy that I do.

Do you have any racing superstitions or traditions?
I pray before I run. Also, I had a friend pass away 4 years ago. I wear a bracelet in remembrance of him. While I run races I wear a yellow bracelet on my arm.

Do you have a running motto or mantra or favorite quote?
Psalm 28:7 The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trust in Him, and I am helped; Therefore my heart greatly rejoices, and with my song I will praise Him.

Have you run the Hogeye before, or will 2015 be your first Hogeye?
This will be my first Hogeye! I was the winner at an expo they came to in Kansas City. I am very excited and I heard the course is beautiful!

Why do you (want to) run the Hogeye? What makes it special?
It makes it special because it will be my second Marathon and I think it will be cool to run in every state and I can cross Arkansas off my list!

How can folks connect with you?
Twitter: MakaelaWillis Instagram: makaelawillis

Thanks for sharing your story, Makaela! See you at the START LINE!

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If you’d like to share YOUR story, please contact racedirector@hogeyemarathon.com — we want to hear from you! {To read past #HogeyeHopeful spotlights — CLICK HERE.}