With several school records being broken over the past few weeks, the Knox Track and Field team is performing at a very high level.
One of the keys to the team’s success, senior Jeremy Rainey-Brown is putting up the strongest numbers of his Knox career, setting new personal records and helping Knox to continue their strong season.
With just two tournaments left in his Knox career, Rainey-Brown reflects on his time on Knox’s Track and Field team and discusses the remaining meets.
The Knox Student: Let’s start at the end of your track career, what has been the highlight for you, thus far, as a fourth year track member at Knox?
Jeremy Rainey-Brown: Probably the last meet I was at, [I was] actually running my fastest times ever. I ran like a 50.2 in the 400 and a low 23 in the 200. So probably that. I’m still hoping to break 50 in the 400, and that will be the new best moment when that happens!
TKS: So to run your fastest time is called a “PR” (personal record). Is it common to set PR’s at meets?
JRB: Yes, but I mean you expect to get faster throughout the season of course. But sometimes, you have season PR’s. But for me, this past meet we were at, was like an all-time PR. So throughout my college career, I’ve been slower than I was as a senior in high school, so I’m finally faster than I was then. So like an all-time PR is a step up from a season PR.
TKS: Did you think you were going to PR at this past meet in that race?
JRB: No, it’s actually funny because my coach told me I didn’t run well. I ran it hard, and afterward I felt terrible. I didn’t eat a lot that day, I had to lay down on the ground to take a nap for 10 minutes after that race. Like I thought I didn’t run well, and my family was there too, so I was a little bit like, ‘Uh, man, I didn’t run [that race] very wellÉ’
Then like the next practice on that Monday, [the coach] actually told me ‘You actually ran faster on that race than you’ve ever run, ever,’ and I was like ‘Are you serious?’
The meet was on Saturday, and he didn’t tell me until the following Monday. He did it on purpose though, because he was like, ‘Yeah there’s a method to the madness.’ And I don’t know what that method is, but maybe trying to encourage me to run faster for my other races. He made me think that because I didn’t run this [race] well, I gotta bring it for these next races.
TKS: Did it work?
JRB: I mean, I ran my fastest in the 200m too, which was after the 400m. And I think I ran a pretty good 4×4, also.
TKS: Has it been hard to be an athlete and a full time student?
JRB: Definitely at times, though sometimes harder than others. I think I’ve dealt with it pretty well. I think I’ve had a handle on it since I’ve started, mostly because in high school it was the same deal. I always had track. I think the practices then were longer, and plus I always had to commute to school [in Chicago]. So like, I think I had less time in high school than I do here. But definitely still difficult being an athlete though, the time commitment is still a lot. Because of the meets, really just your whole Saturday being taken up by track. That’s like a whole day that’s gone.
TKS: After conference, what do you think you’re going to do now with your Saturdays?
JRB: Honestly, I have no idea. It’s like, every now and then I get free Saturdays. But, I literally don’t know what to do. Sitting around like, ‘What do I do?’ Usually, I end up going to the gym anyways. I’ll probably still go to the gym and get homework done earlier, hopefully. Be able to chill out a little bit.
TKS: Well if we rewinded back to you as an incoming freshman, did you, firstly, know that you were going to be on the team?
JRB: Oh yeah. I definitely did. After doing it in high school, I came into college knowing that I’d definitely run track.
TKS: Were there any preconceived notions that you had of what track would be like that came out either true or false?
JRB: I think mostly this year, not so much in the other years, but definitely this year, I really realized what it takes to actually improve and to be good at track and field. And besides from talent, which is definitely a part of it, there is the actual work you have to put in to see yourself improve or become truly competitive. Like, you literally have to kill yourself at practice everyday. Like, run until you die, and run some more. That’s how you really push yourself and see yourself improve.
And I think, that’s part of the reason I wasn’t as fast as I was in high school, in the past few years. And also part of it, is having people to run with. Because we’ve had such a small team. It’s been a little harder. But this year, [we’ve] really had people to run with. And also, really pushing yourself at practice is really what pushes you to be faster and see yourself improve. That’s probably the biggest thing.
TKS: Is there anything you can take with you that track has mentally prepared you for, for post-graduation?
JRB: Yeah, definitely, like nothing I could ever do will hurt as much as Track and Field. And working more with limited time is something I got from track. Especially in the way I’ve tackled generally, I have a list of things I need to do basically, and I’m just like whatever that’s due first, that’s what I do. And get the things done that I need done. Also, track generally keeps you scheduled because you don’t have as much free time, so you know you have to use your free time to do homework, so you do. So yeah, I think [practicing] time management, and also just having that will to do what needs to be done, like see yourself improve and see yourself achieve success.
TKS: Looking forward, what do you hope you can get out of your final meet at Conference as a competitive runner?
JRB: I’m just gonna run my ass off. You know, basically that’s it. It’ll be something. I’m gonna run my very hardest and see what I can do, really. That’s what it comes down to. I think I may cry at the end. Because it’s my last meet, and after that I feel like I’m not an athlete anymore. At least not an active athlete. I told that to coach and he was like, ‘Nah you’re still an athlete, you’re always an athlete.’ Still, the feeling will be like ‘Man, that’s it. You’re never doing this again.’