On a rainy Friday afternoon, Lakeside cross country runner Christian Bowles is about to take a nice easy run of five to six miles.
“I have a long run tomorrow (13-miler), so I have to get something in today,” said the junior Bowles, adding that he likes the cooler weather better than the heat.
It is the memory of the 2012 cross country season that has fueled him for a year. He took fifth in the 2012 Region 2-AAAAA cross country championship meet as the Panthers took the team title, but he was unable to race in the state meet.
“I had some health issues last year,” said Bowles. “I didn’t really have a good season. It’s kind of what drove me in track to have a good finish at state. It’s been a big motivator, so I’m looking forward to a good season here and remaining healthy. That’s the main thing right now. It’s going pretty good right now.”
After his finish to the cross country season, Bowles was happy with the way he performed at the Georgia High School Association’s Boys Class AAAAA state track meet.
“I had a really good state actually,” Bowles said. “I got third in the two-mile (3,200-meter), which was the best state finish I’ve had. I did 9:34. And I got on the podium in the mile (1,600-meter) as well. I got eighth with a 4:27. That was nice to rebound from cross country.”
In preparation for the season, Bowles made sure he hit the ground running before school started.
“I hit 60 (miles) a week this summer,” said the 120-pound, 16-year-old. “Every Monday we have our interval workouts and Thursdays we do hills. I’ve had a lot of really good training this summer. I’m looking forward to taking a more long-term approach to peak later.”
Bowles is part of a storied line of runners at Lakeside. His sister Anna was a state cross country champion as well as a state champion in the 1,600 and 3,200 in track and is a junior at the University of Georgia.
His sister Sarah also ran cross country and track for the Panthers, finishing 13th in the 2012 state cross country meet and matched his finishes at the 2013 state track meet. She is currently a freshman at Georgia Tech University.
“It feels pretty good to be part of tradition, I guess,” Bowles said. “Everyone in my family runs. Hopefully I can continue it in college. My dad (Ken) was a runner, so he kind of wanted us to get into it. We started a few road races when we were young and started middle school track.”
He likes running because he is in control of his own race, and plans on using running to further his future.
“I’ve always wanted to be a college athlete, so I feel like running will help me become one,” Bowles said.
He’s not sure if he likes either cross country or track better, yet.
“Last year it was track, freshman year it was cross country, so I’m in between,” said Bowles. “We’ll see how this year goes. I’m looking forward to it.”