Elijah Joseph: Male Athlete of the Week

Can you walk me through the race and how it unfolded?

So far this season, our team hasn't put together a full successful race. As a team, we decided to be aggressive from the gun and put together a race we need so we can have a good second half of the season. I didn't necessarily want to lead until I felt I was ready to pull away for good. I wanted help up front from the other guys in the race. I knew the first mile would be fast so I had a goal of 4:50 and I ended up being right behind an Oxford runner (Noah George) at 4:48, feeling relaxed. The second mile was expected to be a little slower because of the hills in the woods. Me and [Noah] had a couple surges and went back and forth. We came through the two mile at 9:55. Right after the two mile, I knew it was going to be a big day. I still felt relaxed so I decided to make a move up the hill after the two mile. With 800m left, I opened the gap more and closed as hard as I could and ended up having a big PR.

How pleased were y'all with your team's performance? Based off last weekend at Southern Showcase, this was definitely much better.

I was definitely happy to see our team put together a good race. While it was a good confidence boost for all of us, I know we still have many places we can improve. The big goal is running a perfect race as a team on November 5th.

What got you into running?

When I was in second grade, I played church league basketball. My basketball coach was Devon Hind, also Hoover High School's head coach. He told me when I got to middle school I needed to start running. I guess he saw something in me all those years ago. I got the honor to be coached by him my first two years of high school before he retired and Coach Schmidt took over.

 Talk about the transition from those two great coaches.

They are very different coaches but both offer so many great things and I think I'm very lucky to have been coached by two of the best, if not THE best coaches in the state.

What's a core running memory for you?

I have so many unforgettable memories that the Hoover XC team has given me. But nothing beats the feeling of anchoring for our first place 4x800m team at Indoor State this past year. The energy and noise coming from the Hoover section was unforgettable.

Track or Cross Country?

Both have their perks. Cross Country builds a lot of mental strength but if I had to pick one I'd say track. In track, there aren't courses that are faster than others so it's very easy to see where you stand against other runners.

What's your personal pre-race routine?

I always wear a white sock on my right foot and a black sock on my left foot. Not sure why exactly, it's just something I've done since my freshman year. I usually write "no pain" on my left hand. I like to look at it during a race to help me push harder. But other than that, I take time the morning of a race to really mentally prepare myself. Before we get on the line, I make sure to say a prayer and ask God to help me do my best and run for him.

What's your go-to cheat meal?

I like to have a big bowl of black cherry ice cream after a good race.

If you could visit anywhere in the world, where would it be?

I'd like to take a trip to Lebanon one day. My dad's side of the family is from there and it would be cool to meet family I've never met before. Also Lebanese food is some of my favorite.

Who is your favorite professional athlete?

I'd say Cooper Teare. He's done a lot for the sport and brings a new excitement to big track meets.

Who is your celebrity crush?

Definitely Zendaya.

What's your favorite type of workout? And what's the hardest workout you've ever done?

My favorite workout is 6x400m with 4x200m at the end. One of the hardest workouts I've ever done is 3x300m, 2x500m, 3x300m at 800m race pace. The last set of 300s is rough.

What's your favorite movie?

Ratatouille. It's just a fun feel-good movie.

What do you want to leave behind after your time at Hoover?

I want to leave behind a unique legacy. I want to make the culture at Hoover XC a great thing. I want to represent that even through adversity great things can happen. I think I represent that after my rather disappointing end to my outdoor season last year due to the flu. I want runners that come years after me to know my name and what I did at Hoover.