Quaker Valley athlete of the week: Daniel Ford

Tuesday, May 28, 2019 | 4:25 PM

Daniel Ford

School: Quaker Valley

Sport: Track and field

Class: Junior

Claim to fame: Daniel Ford set a personal best time at the PIAA championship in the 1,600-meter run at 4 minutes, 22.83 seconds, four seconds better than his WPIAL championship performance in mid-May.

Ford’s performance puts him third on Quaker Valley’s all-time list for the 1,600.

Why did you choose long distance running over sprinting events?

I got into long distance mainly through my dad. I remember running the Sewickley 5K when I was in about the third grade. It was tough, but I still did it. I like cross country, too. A lot of it is physical, but it’s mentally pushing yourself past wanting to give up. When you sprint 100 meters, it’s still mental, but maybe not as much running long distance.

You’ve consistently improved your personal bests recently. How did you feel winning WPIALs and doing even better in states?

Winning WPIAL definitely meant a lot. I wanted to win it at least once my high school career. As a junior, that feels good. I was happy with my time there at 4:26. Going into states and shaving four seconds off, it felt even better.

What’s your strategy going into those big races?

My biggest strategy is that I don’t like setting the pace. I like start off not too far back, but middle of the pack. I like to work my way up, and going into the last lap I like to be in close distance to whoever is in front. In the last 100 to 150 meters, I start kicking, hopefully pass and win.

After you’ve reached a certain point, it can be difficult to continue cutting your time. What do you feel will help you perform even better next year?

My main thing will just be upping my training. I already train a lot, but I feel I can take it up another level in terms of maybe running further every day or running a little bit harder. I think I can definitely work a little bit harder in just normal training.

You’re also involved in cross country. What are the significant differences between cross country and track?

For cross country, I’d say you have to train and focus more on distance. As for track, you do that as well, but in track I also focus on speed work. Track races are a faster pace for a shorter distance, so you’ve got to focus on speed training, too.

Are there any races you want to run this summer?

I think the Pittsburgh half marathon might be fun. That wouldn’t be something major I’d have to really train for. I don’t have any set plans, but to do something like that or 5Ks during the cross country season. There’s one at Lehigh that would be interesting to do.

How do you and other top long distance runners like Annie Wicker push each other?

It’s a good feeling to have people on the team with the same goals. It gives you motivation to run, because you see other people doing what you should be doing. With the whole team, you talk about your goals. Sharing these experiences with them is definitely cool.