Athlete spotlight: Bates finds success, camaraderie at UCCS

Sept. 28, 2015

Taylor Garcia
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For every person, there is a place where the world fades away, whether it is in music, getting lost in a book or working up a sweat.

Sophomore business major Heather Bates finds her peace in running.

She’s been running since she was seven years old. Every day since, running has been the only thing on her mind. Workouts for her are easy and part of the grind.

But it’s on race day where she sees where her abilities are truly at.

“It makes me honest,” she said. “It shows me the worst of me, where I am weak, where I may be lazy but it makes me better.”

She explained that before each race, a runner’s confidence is through the roof, but once the race starts you are no longer in control. The last mile is where you are tested and have to hold on to what you are running for, she said.

“Nothing has ever drawn me in like running has. Nothing has been so addictive,” she said.

Transferring from CU-Boulder, Bates is thankful that she was able to find what she needed at UCCS, a team that has been a tight knit community for her.

“Running on a team is hard because it is such an individual sport, but there are seven people are competing for one team score,” she said. “But when one of us doesn’t do well we have our teammates support.”

Nationally, Bates was one of the top three seniors recruited out of high school. Her natural talent and desire to be the best at her craft are motivation to ensure both she and the team are successful.

“I feel a lot of pressure. I need to qualify as an individual for nationals for the team to qualify for nationals.”

Despite sickness, Bates won the Rust Buster on Sept. 5, the first race for the Mountain Lions. She won the race by eight seconds, but pointed out that she ran a minute slower than her time last year (14:44 compared to 15:28).

She followed that up with a third place finish at the Wheaton Gil Dodds Invitational on Sept. 19 in Warrenville, Ill., helping her team to a third place finish overall.

Bates and the rest of the Mountain Lions will next be in action at the Roadrunner Invitational on Oct. 3 at Denver’s Washington Park. The RMAC Championships will follow on Oct. 24 in Alamosa, Colo.