LDS Athlete Competing in 2016 Olympics Shares Life Lessons, Mission Experiences

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Marathon runner Jared Ward, a BYU alum who earned a spot on the US Olympic team, shares with his fans some of the life lessons he has learned throughout his running career.

Ward attended Davis High School in Kaysville, Utah, where he began running on the school’s cross country team. In a YouTube video, Ward explains that running didn’t really click for him until he decided to drop the other sports and narrow his focus.

Ward explains,

I had felt inspired, like this is something I am supposed to do.

Feeling inspired to run, Ward also felt a desire to devote two years to preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ and chose to pause his running career for a time. “Something I had always wanted to do was to serve a mission,” Ward explains. “That was a priority. And so we decided to put running on the back burner for a couple of years and take that time to serve the Lord.”

Describing his time on a mission, Ward explained that each missionary is assigned a companion to work with and that each companionship is allotted 30 minutes a day to exercise in the morning. “But the kicker is you gotta be with your companion. If your companion’s not a runner, you’re not running.”

Ward noticed himself gaining weight but also knew there was not much he could do in 30 minutes to retain his athletic shape. Upon arriving home from his mission, his training had gone really well and he was excited to begin training for the marathon as a future.

Ward continued training with the help of BYU cross-country coach and two-time Olympian, Ed Eyestone. With his coach’s help, Ward, a father of two, snagged a spot on the US Olympic team after finishing third in the 2016 U.S. Olympic Team Trials in Los Angeles earlier this month. Ward will be competing in the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil this summer.

“You learn a lot of lessons running; life lessons of pushing through things that are hard for something that you want, look for what you’re seeking, and just run with it.”

Watch the video, shared above, to learn more about Ward’s running journey.

Kylie is a writer at LDS.net and graduate of BYU with a degree in Broadcast Journalism. She grew up in a Chicago suburb where she gained a passion for the Chicago Cubs. She enjoys writing and live event video production.