Nate Peck - Former GVSU Standout
by RunMichigan Staff, Jul. 30, 2008
Nate Peck - Former GVSU Standout
Courtesty of GVSUNate Peck capped off a very successful career at GVSU this past May, finishing 3rd in the outdoor 5k. During the indoor season, he was the anchor leg on the national champ DMR team. With college now behind him, he has decided to continue chasing his dreams and goals in a new setting. Read on to find out where.
RM: How do you feel about your final season at GVSU? Did you accomplish most of the goals you set out for? What would you have done different if you could go back and do your final year again?
NP: I felt very good about my final season at GVSU. I went through quite the slump my junior year and could feel that my heart and mind were just not where they should. I actually ended up moving to Colorado the summer after my junior year just to break away form the monotony of the area and experience something new, which I think paid huge dividends by the end of the year. I can’t say that I accomplished all of my goals as an athlete, there are just a few things that I feel like I should have tweaked and some other things I feel like I should have dropped, but overall I am content with how I finished. I really wanted to break 14 minutes in the 5k by the end of the year but fell just short (14:00.9) which was sort of heart-breaking, but I still have plenty of time ahead of me to break that barrier and hopefully continue to break barriers as I progress as a professional runner. RM: What are you up to now? Have you found a training group that you feel can take you to another level or are you planning on sticking around GVSU? Why?
NP: Yeah, I actually applied and was accepted into ZAP Fitness, which is a training group based out of North Carolina (www.zapfitness.com). Their track record has been amazing over the last few years, and I certainly feel that their program has exactly what I need in order to make some big improvements in the coming years (good Lord willing). RM: What is going to be your focus in terms of race distance in the upcoming years? Will there be a competitive marathon in your future?
NP: There will be a marathon someday, but it could be a long way down the road. ZAP tends to keep their focus on the track so hopefully I will still be finding improvements in the 1500 through the 10k for the next four years. I really do not feel as if I have reached my full potential at any of those distances yet, and as of right now I just don’t feel like I am ready, physically as well mentally, to leave the track behind and focus on the longer road distances just yet. RM: Why did you choose to attend GVSU? What helped set it apart from the other schools you were considering?
NP: To be perfectly honest, I didn’t really know that much about GVSU or anything that had to do with collegiate running. As far as I was concerned Prefontaine was the only American runner that had ever existed and it should be my goal to be exactly like him. I remember on one of my first runs with the guys from the GVSU team I asked if we still ran the 5k in cross country, and they looked at me like I was an idiot, I was absolutely clueless. Luckily, it just so happened that the school I picked based solely on the fact that it was located 10 minutes from where I grew up, was an incredibly good school with an athletic department that rivals almost all Division 1 schools in the nation. Over time, as we traveled from university to university, and I began establishing friendships with other runners, I realized that athletes at GVSU are completely spoiled compared to some of the horrors I have heard from other schools. Most athletic directors have no idea that their school even has a competitive cross country team, but Tim Selgo (GVSU’s A.D.) not only traveled to our meets, but would find the time to come talk to the team and get to know us on a first-name basis.
I think credit also needs to be given to the work Jerry has done through the years coordinating and coaching Grand Valley into the school it has become. He had a vision when he started, and never failed at piecing that picture together through the years. I can’t even tell you the times that I have told Baltes to go home because I feel bad for the poor guy who puts in 80 hours a week and then drives in on Sundays just to make sure we have some bananas after our long run. And that really can be said of all the coaches at Grand Valley, it’s just an all around great program. They have taken some of the most middle-of-the-road kids out of high school and turned them into national caliber athletes (I myself am one of those). I really just can’t say enough positive things about my experience at Grand Valley. RM: What is your most memorable moment competing at GVSU and why?
NP: That’s a tough question. When you spend five years training and racing with the same group of guys, and then attempt to reflect on it all of those crazy experiences we had together, it all just sort of melts itself in one incredibly positive memory. If I was forced to pick one, I would have to go with the national championship we won in the distance medley. I suppose the goal of every collegiate athlete is to be a national champion someday, and well, we had to wait 5 years to get it, but on that one day, in one moment, it all came together and really sort of capped off all of our careers.
However, if you ask me that same question twenty years from now, I think the glory of winning one national championship will have faded, and my most prominent memories will be made of the simpler times; the smells, the sights, the sounds, that I have associated with grinding out hundreds of miles with some of the closest and most like-minded group of guys that anyone will ever get the chance to be around.