Nia is determined, not only to stay fit and push herself to the limit, but also to maintain friendships through running.
We at Sandy Feet Events are ecstatic to welcome our newest (and youngest) ambassador, Nia Akins. Wondering what perspective “kids these days” might have on running and life, I recently asked Nia a few questions. The response I read was not the answers of a kid, but rather that of a mature young lady that we’re proud to have represent us and undoubtedly inspire others to live a happy and healthy live that incorporates running. Let me tell you a little bit about Nia so you too, can swoon. Nia is a 16 year old at Rancho Bernardo High School that I can tell has that same pride as I do for her team as myself for my university: I say, “Go Badgers!” she says, “Go Broncos!” Respect. Running wasn’t always the love of Nia’s life. No, soccer was her motivation for trying out the whole cross country thing; that is, until she started enjoying running more than soccer and became a convert.
The look of joy on Nia’s face is contagious.
Once on the team, Nia didn’t find satisfaction just in her own independent running. She poignantly reflects, “The sport is special in the manner that it has allowed me to make special bonds. Not a lot of sports allow you to talk to your teammates the whole practice, and talking is what we do when we go on runs everyday.” Still, she stays well rounded by maintaining friendships with runners and other athletes on not only her own team, but also competing teams!
Wise beyond her years, she also believes that, “…running is absolutely beneficial for not only teens my age but for everyone. I hear a lot about how running is obviously great for physical and mental health. But I also believe that running is also spiritually healthy in the manner that running is therapeutic.” She noted that school can be stressful (shocker!), but by running and talking the stress out, she always feels better. We couldn’t agree more, Nia. Distance-wise, Nia’s personal favorite is the 800 meter run because it provides that boost of adrenaline in the short distance and speed while also still being long enough to challenge her mentally. If she has her way, running won’t stop in high school. To college and beyond is where Nia’s running shoes will go. And not just because she loves running now, but also because the passion for running competitively runs in the family. Her mom, Nic Akins, has shared blissfully nostalgic anecdotes of running with Nia, including ranking at state three years in a row in high school and earning 8-Big 12 Track and Field titles and 2 championship titles. Her mother’s accomplishments have fueled Nia’s flame of passion for running. We’re so lucky to have both Akins representing at Sandy Feet Events and hope you too can have the privilege of getting out and running with them on our courses!
Nia’s mom, Nic, shows off some agility drills she uses with runners in training. Check out more at her website.
That look of determination on the course is pure inspiration.