“I run to race and racing is what I love, I just get a natural high out of it.”
Cross Country is not only a sport to Chris Snyder, 18, but his running lane in life.
The drive in Chris Snyder’s eyes is as real as the shock absorbers in his running shoes. Snyder, 18, holds his passion dear and it does not come without its rewards.
In his sophomore year of high school, Snyder broke Crescenta Valley High School’s record in the 2-mile with a blistering time of 9:42. In his freshmen year he set the record for the freshmen 3-mile cross country.
He hopes to bring the same level of achievement to the already distinguished Cross Country team. Glendale’s men’s team has won 13 out of the past 16 Western State Conference Cross Country Championships.
This includes six championship wins in a row and the State Championships in 1995 and 1998. The wins come from a deep pride in the team and the overall outcome of the meet.
“Individually you always want to succeed,” Snyder said. “But ultimately it comes down to how your team does; teamwork is extremely important in this sport.” Snyder has always worked hard and pushed himself to reach his personal goals.
Raised in La Crescenta, his mother described Snyder as always running around and never sitting still. His mother and his family are what drive him to compete and practice every day.
“God and my family are my motivation to run,” Snyder said. “My family has been to almost all my races and it means a lot to me.”
Snyder has been running on a team since the eigth grade, which is when he found out he was good at it and his life of running snowballed into where he is today.
“I run two hours a day and about six days a week,” Snyder said. “If I’m not in school, I’m probably out running.” His coaches sing praises about his work ethic and his character off the field.
“His work ethic is outstanding, he never complains, always congratulates everyone after a race which is a rarity, but he’s still a very fierce competitor,” Eddie Lopez, head coach of the Glendale cross-country team said. “He’s a role model to everyone.”
Life is not all work and no play, his demeanor as a focused speed demon resembles nothing of his pre-game rituals.
“All I do is relax and crack jokes, make it as fun as possible for everyone,” Snyder says. “I used to get too tense and that never works out well.” Running has given Snyder his share of glory, but also his greatest defeats.
“Running has given me a lot of ups and downs,” Snyder recalls. “The injuries have taught me that winning isn’t everything and taught me patience.” Running is not only a hobby and a sport to Snyder, but also his guide.
His favorite subject in school is appropriately human anatomy, which will hopefully segue into a career. “Hopefully, running will get me into UC-Irvine where I can improve my skill,” Snyder said. “But, I also want to study Physical Therapy and hopefully go with that as a career.”
Competition and running is what quenches Snyder’s thirst and he cannot imagine life without it.
“When I’m 50 years old, I want to still be out there running a few miles everyday; running is just a part of my life that will never go away,” Snyder says with a smile.
The next opportunity to catch Snyder (good luck) and the Glendale team in action is in the Western State Conference Meet No. 1 today at Allan Hancock, the meet begins at 3 p.m.