Anthony Killick is logging 400 miles this summer to both stay in shape and rally his cross country team.
Even when he was supposed to be on vacation, cruising with his family in the middle of the sea and soaking up the sun, Anthony Killick’s summer goal couldn’t wait. He’d log four to five miles a day, every day, on a treadmill in the ship’s fitness center because he knew his body would thank him for it when cross country season rolls around.
It also brought him that much closer to hitting his 400-mile goal for the summer. Running 400 miles in one summer is tough for any high school athlete, especially in Florida’s climate, but the funny thing is that this is a down summer for Killick. The incoming Plant City High School senior had a similar mission last summer, in which he logged 560 miles on foot and bike, but wanted to tone it down in 2019.
“That was too much,” he said. “I didn’t have a life last summer. Four hundred was a good goal for me.”
Last summer, Killick ran five miles each morning and biked anywhere from 10-12 miles in the afternoon. On Sundays, he skipped the runs but nearly doubled his biking to a max of 20 miles. More impressive is that Killick put in such a workload coming off of a calf injury that cost him three months of work.
“He’s always put in his work,” Drew Martucci, Killick’s coach for cross country and track, said. “He reminds me a lot of me back in my day. I battled injury after injury and that’s not easy to overcome. For him to get out there and run like that all summer, coming back from that calf injury, that’s hard.”
This summer, Killick started with three to four miles a day on foot and four to six on the bike. Now he’s doing five miles a day on foot and 11 to 13 on the bike.
There are three main reasons Killick is up and at ‘em at 6:30 a.m. daily. First, he’s determined to stay in shape for the upcoming cross country season.
“Being in shape when you start the season, especially with the heat, it makes it so much easier,” he said. “Cross country is a really tough sport, especially when you’re out of shape, so I wanted to make it easier on myself.”
Second, Killick wants to set a good example for his teammates. The entire team, including alumni, has an open invitation to train with him whenever they’d like. He said it’s not uncommon for anywhere from two to five others to run with him when they can. If they’re too young to drive, he’ll gladly drive to pick them up.
“We have our group chat and he’s on there consistently, sometimes twice a day, letting the guys know when he’s running and if anyone wants to join him,” Martucci said. “There’s nothing mandatory about it but he’s doing this every day to set a good example. He’s helped carpool younger kids and has no problem picking them up to get a run in with him.”
It’s certainly an attitude fitting of a team captain. In fact, Killick is not only the first PCHS runner to have been a captain as a junior during Martucci’s seven years with the program, but he’s also about to be the first to be a returning captain.
“I think last year, I did so much to prove myself to my teammates and earn their respect. I think I want to continue that,” Killick said. “I want to set the example so when I leave, whoever comes after me will know what to do.”
Killick ultimately hopes putting such a focus on training will help the team improve upon its successful 2018 season, which saw the boys pick up steam late and go further (all the way to the 4A-Region 2 championships) than ever before.
“I just want to do as well as or better than last year,” Killick said. “Consistency is a good goal for us. We had a slog toward the end of the season but finished strong, so hopefully we won’t be going through as many lows.”