Sarah Crowley runs high school cross country in Knoxville, Tenn., but she kicks off her season in Kentucky.
Crowley, 15, was the top female runner Saturday at Coach Plummer’s 5K Run, posting a time of 21 minutes, 54 seconds to place sixth out of 118 runners on the 3.1-mile cross country course at Admiral Stadium.
And there is no other place she enjoys running more than this one.
“It’s my favorite course, and it’s the right time in the season before all the other races have started,” said Crowley, who was running in her third Plummer Run. “During the summer I do trail races, the long ones in the woods. This is like my unofficial start to my cross country season.”
The Plummer race has become an annual family affair for the Crowley family. Pete Crowley, a 1984 Danville graduate, ran with daughter Leah, 12, and he said he always likes coming back to run for his old coach, former Danville cross country coach E.G. Plummer, on his old course.
“Coach Plummer had a huge influence on all of our family,” said Pete Crowley, who works for Scripps Network in Knoxville. “My mom still lives here, and it’s just a fun event to come up to. It’s good way for (Sarah) to start out informally her cross country season.
“I like the course, obviously visiting with family, and we always run into friends that we knew here.”
Sarah Crowley said what she likes about the course is that it makes her run her best, especially since she is an outsider.
“I like how challenging it is because you have to push yourself, especially since I don’t know anyone here, so I can’t go I have to beat that girl,” she said. “I like how it’s not a good spectator course so there’s not a lot of people shouting at you like at the races back home. It’s more of a peaceful race so you can get into the zone. So I like it a lot.”
And she likes have a good challenge to kick off her season since she runs on a good squad at Bearden High School in Knoxville.
“I have a really good team. Our strength is in the team, not just the individuals, although we have a lot of good runners. Both our guys and girls won regionals last year, so it’s kind of a pride thing, we have to do well because people expect us to,” she said. “So that’s kind of what pushes me. It’s like, ‘Well, everybody’s going to want me to do this so I’d better go do it. But I also love it. I‘ve been running since I could walk. My dad is like my coach and running partner.”