Running 4,000 meters is hard enough without the challenge of doing it with only one shoe.
That, however, is exactly what Mill Valley High School sophomore Amber Akin did last Saturday at the Kansas 5A state cross country meet at Rim Rock Farm in Lawrence.
Near the one mile mark, Akin felt another runner’s cleats jab into her ankle. In the moments that followed, she could feel her shoe slipping off and had to make a quick decision --- stop and put it back on or leave it behind and keep running. She decided to keep running, and Mill Valley is sure glad she did.
Despite finishing the race with only one shoe, Akin placed ninth and led the Jaguars to third place, their best finish in the 13-year history of the school. The previous high was fifth place by the girls team at the state meet last season.
“It means a lot,” Akin said. “Looking back, I’m glad I finished it and kept running.”
Instead of heading to the hospital immediately after her race, she opted to stay and watch the boys who also finished in third place, elevated by an eighth place finish by Derek Meeks.