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Senior Profile: Hoffman a cross country Lion king
With the kind of success he's had running cross country for Providence Christian High, you'd think Corning resident Tucker Hoffman was born wearing a pair of running shoes.
As it turns out, Hoffman never had his sights set on becoming a standout harrier for the Lions, but began running for an entire purpose altogether.
"I wanted to go into the military and become a Navy SEAL, and I started running just to get in shape," he explained. "First it was a pain, but after I won my first race I was like, 'Hey, maybe there's something to this.'"
Hoffman has made a habit of winning cross country meets, and capped the Mid-Valley League season off Wednesday taking the championship by a staggering one minute and 33 seconds ahead of his closest competitor, turning in a time of 16:09.
"I've been pretty blessed this year, and have been running consistent 16:30's for three-mile courses." Wednesday's course was 2.9 miles, and Hoffman said the nice, cool weather played a large part in his performance - along with fan support. "It's a good spectator course, and people were cheering along the way."
Like many young men, Hoffman has changed his mind about his future plans. While entering the military is no longer a consideration for him, he hopes to continue his enjoyment of long-distance running for the rest of his life, and to possibly make a career based around it.
"I'm looking at Chico State, Hawaii Pacific and Simpson." Hoffman said about his immediate future. "I'd like to go into journalism and maybe work for Runner's World or Trail Runner (magazines)."
While he is often leading the pack, Hoffman said that it is the hardest way for him to run. "It's nice if you have people running with you to 'leap frog'. If certain parts of your race are not strong - like for me my second mile - you can have a runner pass you and then you have to pick up your pace to pass him up."
To most, running seems as simple as picking up your feet and putting them back down alternately, but conditioned runners like Hoffman know that's not the case. "Before I started running I had rolled an ankle playing basketball. I had to adjust my form so I wasn't pounding down on my knees when I run."
He is a part of the Providence team, but often on the course it is a solitary sport, and Hoffman enjoys that.
"If you don't have a great day you have to ask yourself, 'What did I do' and 'Did I perform well.' You have nobody else to blame but yourself."
Another part of his enjoyment is just being outside and running, amongst the various trails and hills.
Hoffman also realizes that some of the lessons he has learned about competing on the cross county courses he will carry with him on whatever course his life takes.
"Knowing that by ticking with something you'll get better results," is one of the more valuable things he has learned through running. "If you put in a long summer of running, it's going to pay off during the season. You get out of it what you put into it."
Always looking for the next challenge, Hoffman says he also enjoys the "ultra-running" community, where courses are 100 miles.
Considering he never set out to be runner, he now finds himself as one, and with the lessons he's learned in the process, he should be on the right course for success.
CONTACT Craig Purcell at 824-1036 or email@example.com.