Injuries can't stop Boyle's Bayless

November 03, 2003|MIKE MARSEE

Cross country runners are a tough lot by nature, and Kathryn Bayless just might be tougher than most.

The Boyle County senior has endured ailments over the last 18 months that would have sent many athletes to the sidelines. A bout with anemia, a battle with shin splints, then a rematch with anemia were enough to make a mess out of her last two cross country seasons. But they weren't enough to stop her.

Cross country isn't even Bayless favorite sport - she said track is first on her list - but she likes it enough to put up with the problems that have made the last two seasons a challenge.

"I just love running," she said. "I just love competing and the thought of winning."

She'll run one last time Saturday when the Boyle girls compete in the State Cross Country Championships at Lexington.

She finished seventh in Boyle's regional meet last weekend at Millennium Park, but she said she doesn't usually run as well on her home course as she does on the state meet course at the Kentucky Horse Park.


Bayless' regional time was 23 minutes, 12 seconds, and she said she'd like to run under 22 minutes for the 3.1 miles at the state meet.

That's not unrealistic, because Bayless lopped a minute and a half off her time late last month after a visit to the doctor. She said she was afraid she was afflicted by the anemia that plagued her last season, but the doctor told her the iron level in her blood was only "normally low."

She started increasing the iron supplements she takes, and the effect was almost immediate. In her last pre-regional race at Woodford County, she ran a 21:44.

"I was really happy with that," she said. "The first week made a difference."

Anemia was a problem for Bayless throughout her junior season, and her times ballooned to around 25 minutes.

"Last season really got me," she said.

Bayless got past it, though, but then another problem popped up this summer. She was running well right up to the time she left for a cross country camp at Morehead State University, where she picked up a new pair of shoes and a case of shin splints.

Now all her health problems appear to be behind her. She was 101st in the state meet last year, but she said she'd like to make the top 25 or 30 this season.

"I feel awesome," she said. "I feel like I can run forever."

Bayless started running competitively in track, where she found her niche in middle distances. She played soccer for Boyle for two years, but her track teammates convinced her to give cross country a try in her sophomore year.

"I remember upchucking quite a few times the first year," she said. "But you get a stomach for it."

She played both sports as a sophomore but gave up soccer after that season.

Now she looks forward to the chance to run cross country and track in college.

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