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Cross Country runner’s path to Marshall

The Parthenon

Published: Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Updated: Wednesday, November 14, 2012 01:11

Running away from home was one of those things parents said never to do. But some times, running away from home has purpose.

Marshall cross country senior Peter Starnes feels the purpose everyday.

One of only two out-of-state runners on the Marshall University’s cross country team. Starnes’ home is in Celina, Ohio, about four and half hours from Huntington.

“I’m not sure why I picked Marshall,” Starnes said. “I visited with my mother and if I remember correctly, I said ‘I think this is the place’ before we even finished our visit. That was one of the best decisions I ever made.”

This past weekend, the Marshall cross country teams ran in NCAA Regionals at Penn State University. Starnes was the top placer for the Thundering Herd, posting a time of 32:13. The race was his best finish of the season and his best race as a collegiate runner.

“Running a career high best time is really the ultimate goal for every race,” Starnes said. “I just wanted to get a good scoring pace and time regardless of how I finished on the team.” The NCAA Regionals is a 10K race for men, as oppose to the typical 8K they run in every other competition.

“All that means is we have one more mile of hurt than we’re used to,” Starnes said. “But at this point in the season we’re all in good enough shape to tough it out. I have to give credit to coach Jeff Small for that.”

Starnes has always been a runner. It runs in the family.

“You realize when you always win the mile run in gym class, you’re good at running,” Starnes said. “My dad ran in high school and college. I figured if he was good and enjoyed it, I had a good shot of that too.”

One of this big elements keeping Starnes going is his faith.

“Whether I have a good or a bad run, I try to remember to thank God every time for giving me the ability and talent to succeed in the sport I love,” Starnes said. “That’s the only constant worth keeping.”

Starnes is a senior academically, but a junior in eligibility. He will be graduating in May with a degree in geology, and its still undecided whether he will run in graduate school. A lot of that he said depends on his fiance, women’s cross country member Leslie Thomas.

“I’m applying to the same schools that Leslie applied to for Vet school. Whichever school she gets into, that’s where we will go,” Starnes said.

Starnes will begin the next chapter of his life when the couple marries in June.

“It will be hard to top this chapter, but I have a feeling the next one will be even better,” Starnes said. “We might even get a dog, too.”

Caitie Smith can be contacted at

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