Marie Betz finds solace during track season


Marie Betz

Marie Betz displays a happy demeanor wherever she is, but particularly on the track.

Junior Marie Betz, despite being a fun-loving person and finding her knack in whatever environment she may be placed into, finds comfort in one activity above all others: running on the track.

On her journey through life, she has found her remarkable stamina for running; the sport that many abhor, Marie admires. 

“Last year was my first time being on the school team,” Marie said, “but I did it over the summers, I went to camps [where we ran], and I sometimes just did it for fun.”

I got second, but that’s fine because I also hit a personal record, and I was really proud of myself for that.

— Marie Betz

Marie has found her place on the track team, and she doesn’t regret any decision she’s made as far as her high school running career goes. It remains her go-to sport to participate in, be it on a team or otherwise.

While she loves nearly everything about it, Marie appreciates both the competitive aspect and the individual aspect of being on the team, which is an important distinction to have.

“I love to compete,” Marie said. “I can absolutely say that I’m a very competitive person. I really do like the competition around [track], it’s super fun. But, if I’m with a small group, like with my relay, I like to focus on myself to see my strengths and weaknesses [and where I can improve].”

Being able to find the boundary between competition and self-exploration is a very important skill to have, and Marie does her best to display this trait. It has taught her lessons about her own limits and what she is able to push herself to do, which can allow her to have a stronger relationship with herself.

However, with every mountain, there’s a valley, and there are things that Marie finds particularly unsavory in her world of track.

“One thing I hated was over the first three days of practice to get us ready,” Marie explained. “Coach had us do hills. Hills are horrible [in and of themselves], but especially because it was the hill at [Forest Hills Central] middle school, which is super steep. He had us do it up and down nine times. It was terrible.”

This isn’t an everyday experience, though. This was used as a preparation for the season, and it was just an unbearable occurrence at the moment. 

Marie knows that her coach meant well, so there are no hard feelings there. That’s one of the cool things about track to her: it allows her to push herself to limits that she didn’t know she had.

“[Coach] told us that it would be helpful, and it was, but it was also [crazy],” Marie said. “Yeah, some people stop and all, but we just push through it and it helps our endurance and increases our skills. Plus, in the end, you get a really good feeling, so that’s great.”

The innate passion that Marie has for running is an amazing way for her to meet new people and gain new experiences with her team. As with any team sport, there is great camaraderie to be found in her group. 

It’s a beautiful thing to have a team that can see you at your best and worst moments. There are countless experiences that a team can share and Marie recounts these in a way that keeps her motivated.

“We were in Byron Center,” Marie said. “I was in the second-to-last seat—the last seat is the fastest, so that’s where you want to be—and I ran with this girl from Byron Center. We were neck-and-neck the whole time, so I was scared to even see if I’d gotten first or second place. I got second, but that’s fine because I also hit a personal record, and I was really proud of myself for that. I just love to see my improvement, and it’s great when it’s something to be proud of.”