Four-time Gatorade Cross Country Runner of the Year, 18 year old Makena Morley from Big Fork had the fantastic opportunity to grace the cover of this years spring edition of Flathead Living and we couldn’t be more proud. Makena is also a four-time state champion, holds the all-time state 3 mile record of 16:34, and is a two-time state champion in the 800, 1600, and 3200. On the cover she sports a Spring Paisley Wizband.
The article which can be viewed at http://flatheadliving.com/magazine/ reads as follows-
IN THE SPAN OF A MONTH, beginning Jan. 10, Makena Morley outpaced the best
under-20 female runners from the U.S. and Europe to win the Great Edinburgh XCountry International Challenge in Scotland, was featured in Runner’s World magazine, and broke the all-time two-mile meet record at the New Balance Boise Indoor track meet. Not a bad of season for a high school senior waiting for spring track to begin.
Morley will graduate from Bigfork High School in May as the greatest female distance runner in Montana high school history. But her goals extend well beyond state borders, and she’s already proving to be a force on the national and world levels, as she demonstrated in Scotland and at a number of regional and national meets where she placed near the top.
Morley has also finished in the top 20 out of nearly 30,000 women in consecutive
years at Spokane’s 7.46-mile Bloomsday Run. Her 2014 time of 42:54 was more
than seven minutes faster than her next 16-18 age group competitor, and the small
handful of older women who beat her largely consisted of premier Kenyan and
But even if Morley’s ambitions are global, her heart remains in Montana. She
turned down offers to some of the nation’s most prestigious running schools in favor of attending the University of Montana, where she will compete in cross country and track. She likes the coach and campus, and she relishes the opportunity to put the Grizzly distance program on the map.
“I’m excited to be a part of building the team,” she says. “A lot of people don’t know Coach (Collin) Fehr, but he’s going to be really amazing.” There’s no doubt that Morley has innate athletic gifts. It runs in her blood, with her father,
sister and brother all superb distance runners in their own right. But you don’t rise to national renown without an unflinching mental drive to accompany the natural talent. Even as she blew away her high school competition, winning by absurdly large margins, her desire to improve never waned. It only grew stronger.
In her senior year, Morley has upped the ante on her training regimen. Guided by her father’s coaching, she has increased her weekly mileage from 50 miles as a junior to at least 60 this year. She’s also added more upper body weight lifting and a few brutal speed drills, including a track routine in which she sprints 400 meters and then jogs 400. She does that 16 times – eight sprinting and eight jogging – without stopping.
“I wanted to see how much it could hurt, how much I could push myself in workouts,” she says. “People probably think that’s weird. But I was just thinking, ‘What are you going to do to get stronger?’”
This spring track season, Morley hopes to finish under 10 minutes in the 3200 meters and break the national high school record of 9:48, though that might have to occur closer to sea level. She also wants to finish under 4:40 in the 1600-meter race.
Then her goal is to become a multiple national champion at UM. Beyond that, a professional running career, maybe the Olympics.
The sky’s the limit only if you think the sky is
limiting. When Morley looks up, she sees opportunity.