Every pro runner dreams of being one of the greats — of leaving their permanent mark on the record books and taking home hardware. But while every runner shares these dreams, only the very best can make it happen.
What does it really take to be the best? Talent isn’t enough. Elite coaching isn’t enough. The strictest training isn’t enough. There has to be something else – something powerful that drives you.
You have to believe. Believe that running is what you were put on this earth to do. Believe that this is your destiny. And you have to hold on to that belief no matter how many obstacles life throws in your path.
Boris Berian has this belief. And when he found himself working at a fast food restaurant without a team or a coach and training alone after his shifts, it was all he had to hold onto.
“I didn’t have anybody pushing me, anybody giving me positive energy,” Boris said. “It was all just discipline from myself. I had workouts that I had saved from college, so I based my training on that and did everything on my own.”
As an athlete who thrives on seeing positive energy and positive progress, Boris found this harsh reality difficult to accept.
“I didn’t know for sure what I could do, so sometimes I was thinking ‘what if I can’t get myself to that level? What if this was all just a waste of time?’ Some days were really tough like that, but I told myself I still have to try. I can’t just give up.”
Stuck in an impossible situation, Boris refused to accept that his career was over. Running was it for him, and he couldn’t walk away.
“I had a feeling deep in my gut,” Boris said. “I couldn’t give up running just yet. All through high school, my coaches got me to a pretty good level and it completely surprised me. My first year in college, I had another huge breakout, and knowing what I could do if I really pushed myself…I kept on holding onto that.”
The crazy thing about belief? It’s contagious. The coaches of Big Bear Track Club, based in California, had noticed Boris’ collegiate career and were curious where the 800m phenom had been hiding. So they came calling.
“It was a huge relief,” Boris said. “Back then, I didn’t know there were as many running groups as there are. That’s why I never really reached out to anyone. So when there was a coach and team that were interested in me, I was really excited and really relieved.”
For Boris, being back on a team instantly returned joy to the sport he loved.