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Finish the race

Contributor: The Nerd

In the week leading up to XC season, our social media accounts included several posts about why XC is so important. Here's our post about Noah Lambrecht, who competed in XC all four years of high school despite finishing last in almost every race he ran.

XC season starts in six days. As a community we often focus on the fastest runners, but every athlete brings a unique set of goals to the team.

Make varsity.




Make friends.

Get fit.

Fit in.

Finish the race.

Since 2017, the most remarkable XC athlete we’ve covered is an athlete who was last nearly every time he raced. He never improved on his freshman PR. He never made varsity. In 2018, he finished the Class D UNK race just minutes before the winner of the next race...

That UNK race is where we first learned about Noah Lambrecht. Abandoned at birth. Four open heart surgeries before age six. Asthma. An undersized lung. A boy who had every reason to avoid distance running.

And yet he ran XC with the heart of a lion…

Noah started over 20 XC races in HS. Finishing was never a sure thing. He was built like a lineman. He had a pacemaker. Some meets topped 90 degrees.

Noah finished every race he started. “People were waiting for me at the finish; they’d be disappointed if I quit.”

We run for different reasons. To run towards a goal, or perhaps to run away from something else. From stress or bad grades or broken relationships or bad decisions. A great XC team accepts everyone, not just the fast kids.

Define your goals.

Find your joy.

Write your story.

Do you think you have too many obstacles to join the XC team? Read Noah’s full story here:

And then remember:

The next time you run, will you have as much heart as Noah?


Originally written for and posted at by Jay Slagle. Did you love reading about Nebraska high school running? Visit for rankings, results, photos, long-form articles, frequent updates on our blog page, and a bunch of other cool stuff that only running nerds would think to do. If you want to see meet photos or just need to kill a few hours on social media, follow @PrepRunningNerd on Twitter and Instagram, or on Facebook at

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