Top cross-country runner shares training secrets


Night-runner. Lifesaver. Quaker. This is the description of All-Old Dominion Athletic Conference’s First Team runner Andris Goncarovs.

“Why do I love running?” said Goncarovs.

“There’s just something about the community you get  involved in, from teammates and coaches to the opportunities it can give you.”

The junior psychology and health science major has been running since he was eight as a member of a small youth team, which was coached by the current Cornell University track coach.

“I had chronic asthma when I was little, so (running) was a way to control that,” said Goncarovs.

Today, Goncarovs is one of the top long-distance runners in Division III.

His secret? Running, no matter what the time of the day.

“We’re out there running together, three or four of us,” said Goncarovs.

“We’re out in all weather, even at night.”

David Cason, a junior biology and health science major and teammate, often runs with Goncarovs.

“Running is an everyday thing, and it is usually impossible to do it at the same time each day,” said Cason. “To runners, it’s not a big deal to go (out) at night.

“It’s actually pretty nice, even if you’re a bit limited with where you can go.”

While Goncarovs may be an excellent athlete, there are certain dangers to running at night.

“I’ve have almost been run over by cars twice,” said Goncarovs. “I try to wear lights when I go running, but it happens.”

Despite these dangers, Goncarovs continue to run after sundown.

Cross-country coach Danny Cash said that running at night may not always be the best situation, but it is sometimes a necessary part of the training process.

“We are limited to just a few hours of practice time at the track facility we use,” said Cash in an email interview. “Due to class conflicts, he and others sometimes miss that window of time to be on the track.

“Ideally, we would love to have everyone working together for practice, but until we get facilities on campus, we have to do the best we can.”

Goncarovs’ devotion to his training is just one testament of his greatness.

“Andris is an very dedicated student athlete who works very hard in practices and in the classroom,” said Cash.

“He is a team leader who supports his teammates both on and off the track.

“On a team trip last year, he helped save a drowning victim on the coast.”

Cason agreed that his teammate has a special gene.

“Andris is hard working,” said Cason in an email interview. “I respect him for his independence.

Goncarovs transferred to Guilford as a junior. His goal? To reconnect with his Quaker roots and to receive a stronger education.

“The other school (University of Buffalo) was quite big,” said Goncarovs.

“The classes were 150 or more. Here, there’s a promise of 30 people or less.

“It’s a promise Guilford keeps.”