There was one more cross country race for Liberty Bell High School’s 2023 1B/2B state champion Dexter Delaney this past weekend. The Mountain Lion junior distance runner headed for Boise, Idaho, at the invitation of the NXR Northwest regional 5-kilometer run, held near the capital city of the Gem State on Saturday (Nov. 11).
The regional 5K boys’ championship drew 214 elite runners from Washington, Idaho, Oregon and Montana. Delaney was a bit under the weather with cold-like symptoms but would eventually be the 27th runner to cross the finish line.
“I woke up Saturday morning feeling kind of sick, like I was coming down with a cold,” he said. “But it was like, if I didn’t think about it, I could run and be OK.”
So, run he did. “The first mile was pretty good and I thought I was going to be OK,” Delaney recalled. Indeed, at the one-mile mark, he was in 18th place at 4:43, a full 10 seconds ahead of his pace at state.
But, at a mile and a half there was this hill. “It was a steep, 100-meter climb and I really worked hard going up,” Delaney said. “But once we got over the top I really started feeling it.”
He was in the top 20 and had been passing some people, but then could feel he was slowing down a bit. “I lost five or six spots in the final 500 meters. I really felt good about the race overall, even feeling sick and losing those spots at the end,” Delaney said.
At that, Delaney set his new personal best for a 5K race. He was buoyed and pulled along by competition. And he said he felt honored to be able to make the trip.
“To be able to run around with a lot of fast people was a great opportunity,” he said. “They are all serious runners, many of the best in the Northwest. You don’t get a chance to run against that kind of competition very often during the season.”
Next up for the Liberty Bell junior is the winter Nordic season, skiing in the Methow Valley’s Youth Nordic program, after a little break to recover from the high school cross country season which began in late August.
While Delaney really enjoys the skinny skis, the winter season provides continuous training for the spring Liberty Bell track and field season. His focus is on the 1,600- and 3,200-meter runs. He was sixth in the 1,600M and runner-up in the 3,200M at the 2023 state championships.