At the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Indoor Track & Field Championships in Seattle last Wednesday, Medina ran the third-fastest indoor 3-kilometer time in CU history.
The owner of the top two times? Famed CU alumnus and Olympian Adam Goucher.
Medina’s time of 7 minutes, 53.02 seconds was a personal record in the event by more than 30 seconds.
“I expected to get in there and compete as hard as I could,” Medina, a fifth-year senior, said. “As far as time, it came as kind of a surprise.”
Medina said his improvement was a combination of diligent training and rested legs. It was the first time he had raced the indoor 3k by itself, as normally he runs the 5-kilometer race earlier in the same meet.
Medina’s standout 3k will be the only race of his indoor season, but he has no plans to stop running. He hopes to qualify for the Olympic trials in the 5k this summer. If the Olympic dream eludes him, he will still have a shot at 5k glory during the upcoming NCAA outdoor season.
Medina wasn’t always a star athlete, however, and it wasn’t until his sophomore year at Grand Junction High School that he discovered his talent for running.
Medina was cut from his high school’s basketball team, and he briefly tried wrestling. He originally began running as a way to stay in shape for these sports, but when he switched to cross-country full-time, he immediately excelled. During his high school running career, Medina earned four 5A state titles in track and cross-country.
Richard is not the only Medina in a CU jersey. His younger brother Martin, a senior, is also a member of the track and cross-country teams. Richard Medina said ever since high school, he has enjoyed running alongside his brother.
“I like having my brother on the team,” Medina said. “There’s always someone there to talk to … I try encouraging him as best I can.”
He said that although he and Martin are sometimes competitive with each other, they try to train smart and not race each other in practice.
Besides running, Medina keeps up with academics as an economics and Spanish double major, having made the Academic All-Big 12 team in both 2010 and 2011.
Medina also makes time for hobbies outside of the CU athletics spotlight.
“I still like to play basketball, even though I’m the shortest guy out there,” a 5’5” Medina said. “I like to hang out with friends, watch movies, cook. I’m a simple guy.”
He may call himself “simple,” but to the rest of the world, Medina is simply fast.
Photo credit: (CU Independent/Annie Rumbl)
Contact CU Independent Sports Editor Caryn Maconi at Caryn.firstname.lastname@example.org.