By Duane Shimogawa - bio | email
LIHUE, Kauai (HawaiiNewsNow) - Running up to 45 miles in your lifetime may be a pretty good feat. But what about doing that every single week. That's the training schedule for Kauai's Pierce Murphy. He has high hopes of earning gold someday. At 17-years-old, Murphy is just a normal teenager until you see him run, all the way to being one of the best in the state. But it doesn't stop there. The Island School junior is also making a name for himself on the national scene, after finishing 15th last December at the Foot Locker Western Regionals in California.
"The competition, I like competing against other people and I'm good at it, so that helps," he said.
His parents noticed his special speed and endurance when he began playing soccer in kindergarten.
In his very first race, he finished first in his age division, third overall and beating kids much older than him.
"I wouldn't get tired as easy than everyone else," he said.
His mom also noticed his unique athletic prowess.
"He realized he had a gift also and that was really the beginning of him realizing that he was a good runner," Pierce's mom, Doreen said.
His coach, Basil Scott knew Pierce was something special when they met five years ago.
"I actually raced against Pierce when he was 12, I could beat him, but not so much anymore," Scott said.
Just this year, his athletic ability, along with his 3.7 grade point average earned him the title of Gatorade's top boys cross-country athlete in the state.
Pierce runs 45 miles a week and a couple days a week, he does morning and afternoon sessions.
And weekends off? Forget about it. He does 10 miles and even squeezes in some sprints during the week.
"In distance running, you cannot be afraid, you have to push yourself, there's physical discomfort involved at the end of the races, he is very good at managing that and isn't afraid to hang one out there," Scott said.
But Pierce's dream of becoming an Olympic runner was all but done after a trip to the podiatrist's office.
"There was a crack in his heel, the podiatrist said, your plates are not fusing together, which was a fairly huge hairline fracture and he said to Pierce, you cannot continue running," Doreen said.
This was four years ago. He was told to take two years off and wasn't sure he'd ever be back at full speed again.
"I was just thinking he could overcome this, there are lot of athletes who have bigger setbacks," Doreen said.
But just after one month of rehab, something strange happened. His foot problem miraculously went away and his assault on track continued.
"I feel like I'm trying as hard as I can and getting faster everyday," Pierce said.
Pierce hopes follow in his idol, Steve Prefontaine's footsteps by going to the University of Oregon and then competing in the Olympics.
"I really feel like he's got big goals that he wants to obtain and I always tell him the sky's the limit," Doreen said.
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