HomeIssue 13Bearcat spotlight: XC’s Gabriel Regimbal

Bearcat spotlight: XC’s Gabriel Regimbal

Jacob Bloom

Staff Writer

First-year cross country runner Gabriel Regimbal hasn’t put too much pressure on himself during his first season running for Willamette University. Rather, he’s approached the season by learning about himself as a runner before choosing what goals to set for himself. He said: “I think going in I didn’t have any goals… Going in it was kind of just wanting to see where I was at. In the very beginning, I was kind of surprised to see how much I had progressed since high school, and then as the season moved on, I had goals for running certain places or times. But I think this season was about seeing where I was at. I think the goals will come next season. I was just enjoying the moment and not putting too much pressure on myself.”

Regimbal said that while his teammates, stress relief and being in nature are some of his favorite things about cross country, his favorite part of running is seeing firsthand that hard work pays off. Regimbal stated: “What I love about running and cross country is seeing that hard work really does pay off and you can see it pays off. Talent gets you far in running but you can improve a lot dramatically just by going out and doing it more. You can do it by yourself, you don’t need other people. It’s something you can go out and do. It’s a very self-motivated sport.”

Art: Grace Shiffrin
Caption: Gabriel Regimbal

Regimbal talked extensively about the lessons running has to offer. Specifically, he pointed out that while running may seem like a solely physical sport, a large portion of what a successful runner must overcome are mental barriers. He said: “I think mentally, running is harder than the physical aspects. We run so much that anyone on our team can run five miles, but the mental part is convincing yourself you can do it. I think with cross country, we run so many races, but only a handful of them are going to be your best race. Being able to mentally start every race believing you’re going to have one of the best races of your life is something that takes a lot of practice.”

While Regimbal is keeping to the regimen of three hours of cross country practice a day, he highlighted that there are non-physical parts of the sport that he is working on as well. In particular, Regimbal says he’s trying to work on his patience in terms of how he approaches each race. Regimbal said: “I think the thing I’ve hammered home this year for running is patience and trusting the process. Five miles is a long race, and I think I’ve learned through racing that you don’t need to go out super hard. Stay patient, stay relaxed and let the race come to you. In high school, races are a little shorter, so I think I’ve learned to be patient and trust that I’m ready when I line up.”

Another mental challenge Regimbal talked about was staying calm before races. He said that whenever he gets too nervous about a race, his performance is visibly affected. “Running tense makes me run slower. When you relax and work hard, it feels more natural. When you’re tense it feels like you’re working hard to maybe do something that shouldn’t be as hard.”

According to Regimbal, a misconception about cross country is that it isn’t a team sport, as he said: “Cross country appears very individualistic, but you also have the team in mind. We score based on our top five people. You can have one, two, three and four really fast, but if the fifth person isn’t as fast, your team might not do as well. Sometimes running isn’t about talent, but being able to work together.”

When asked about the best advice he’s gotten this season, Regimbal quoted his coach, saying that he tells the team “Life is not about cross country, but you’ll learn a lot about life while running cross country.” Regimbal said he agrees with this statement, as he said: “Some people get obsessed and think their life is about running, but you learn about life through running. Running itself is hard, and life itself is hard, but if you do work hard at it you can be rewarded.”


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