BLAINE, Minn. -- It takes a special kind of athlete to run cross country. Special, because it's grueling. Pounding out 6 minute miles day after day, chasing the clock for that best time. It takes grit. But more than that, it takes heart.
"Personally for me I always try to do better each race," Blaine High School cross country runner Tom Anderson says of his chosen sport.
Doing better means beating the other runners.
Tom wants to run faster.
Tom wants to win.
"Tom is a hard worker and Tom is a leader," Blaine Coach Rachel Karel said of the junior runner.
In three seasons Tom has shaved time off his runs, and last week, at the 35 team Blaine Invitational he was ready for his best time yet.
"I wanted to run about a 18:30 5k," Anderson said Wednesday night.
He was paced to do it until he made a decision that would result in one of the worst times of his career.
"I came around a turn and there was an Irondale kid on the ground so I ran up to him just to see if he was ok and then helped him up and had him put his arm on my shoulders and then I helped him for about a half mile," Tom said of his choice.
For a half mile, Tom carried his competition.
"Just thought it was the right thing to do," Tom said.
A coach who wants to win should have been furious but that's the irony.
Tom erased any chance he had of losing, when he forgot about time; that's when he won.
"He did what is right that is more important," Coach Karel said.
The right thing with the worst time.
But it's fair to say Tom had a PR on that run when he chose right, over, win.
"We are all kind of on the same team, we are all runners, doesn't really matter which school you run for," Tom said.
(Copyright 2012 by KARE. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)