Athlete of the Week: Margaret Wade embraces underdog status, propels Savannah Arts XC/TF to new heights

Sports

Step by step and run by run, Margaret Wade chases a faster time than she ran the day before, just like she has since she was a toddler.

“It’s just all about how much you can push yourself and how much you can make yourself hurt,” Wade said.

She realized that at an earlier age than most.

“I did the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure when I was in Kindergarten. It was a 5k.”

More than a decade later, the Savannah Arts Academy junior is still running those 5k races; in fact, she now holds the school record for the event with a time of 19 minutes and 25 seconds.

It seemed like nothing could stop Wade from going even faster, until a mid-season injury to her right calf muscle.

“You’re putting so much stress on your bone and it starts to deteriorate and a stress fracture happens,” Wade explained. “It was building up to a stress fracture where you’re just running too much.”

That injury prevented her from doing what she loved for most of cross country season.

“My momentum was gone and it was really hard to not run and to have to do cross-training and stuff like that,” Wade said.

When Wade came back from injury, she made the most of the time she had, helping Savannah Arts to its first-ever podium appearance at the state meet, placing runner-up behind Atlanta powerhouse Westminster.

“They have lots of fancy things, they arrive on their chartered bus and they have two pools at their school so it’s really cool to be able to go up against the Atlanta schools that have so many more resources,” Wade said.

Wade and her teammates know that they will likely never compete on even ground with the Westminsters of the world.

That doesn’t stop these young runners from wanting to beat them all the same.

“We don’t have a track, we have one coach, we don’t have a nutritionist, we don’t have any of that; we’re a public school,” Wade said.

Injured or healthy, track or no track, Wade presses on toward the next finish line, hoping to get there fast enough for another taste of the winner’s podium.

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