Senior cross country and track captain Hannah Oscarson has been running competitively since fourth grade. She competed for three years in the Park and Recreation track club before making the varsity cross country squad in the fall of her seventh-grade year.
“I think right away I just ran because I was good at it,” Oscarson said. “When I was in sixth and seventh grade, I thought the mile was the longest race in the world. But I was breaking the Park records, so I continued to run distance.”
Growing up, Oscarson lived a very active lifestyle. She ran her first 5k at age 11, but before that, she had been biking and hiking all the time with her family. The reason she decided to run high school cross country was because her brother was on the team and he had always been a big role model in her life.
After a successful six years of high school track and cross country, Oscarson settled on the University of North Dakota as the perfect opportunity to pursue a collegiate career in both sports. Previous cross country Head Coach Richard Clay reached out to her at a time where she wasn’t sure whether she was going to run in college.
“I was definitely thinking about not running (in college),” Oscarson said. “Sophomore year of high school I almost quit. I forgot why I loved running and I had to take a step back. I got too involved with the expectation and I was doing it more for other people than I did for myself.”
During the end of Oscarson’s junior year and senior year she started to rediscover that passion.
“I started running for me again,” Oscarson said. “It’s a huge reason why I’m still running today. I can’t imagine a day where I’m not running regularly. Even after college I’ll be finding road races and running every day.”
Oscarson said she has a goal of one day completing an Ironman, which is a 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike ride, followed directly by a 26.2 mile run. In her opinion, it’s one of the toughest things you can put your body through.
Oscarson discovered her interest in swimming this summer while battling through a knee injury. She was out of running for over two months and spent a lot of time in the pool. Putting in an average of 90 minutes every day between various types of training.
The grind paid off in the long run. Oscarson just recently placed eighth at the first meet of the 2019 cross country season, the highest finisher on the team. She also clocked a personal best in the process. It was the first summer she hadn’t spent running since she was in sixth grade.
Junior Lydia Kantonen looks up to Oscarson on a daily basis for that very reason. She continues to work hard throughout hardships and leads by example on the team.
“Hannah encourages everyone intentionally and gets to know everybody on the team,” Kantonen said. “On top of that, she’s always doing the most. She does all the little things right every day.”
After finishing up her collegiate running career, Oscarson is planning on becoming a Physician’s Assistant. As a natural-born leader and someone who’s always going out of her way to help everyone around her, she seems to have found the perfect path.