Luke Sumerford Wins Local Freedom Run 10K
GREENSBORO, N.C. – UNCG rising senior Luke Sumerford has been running through the streets of the Gate City his entire life, having grown up in Greensboro and attending Grimsley High School before donning the Blue and Gold for the past three years for his hometown Spartans. Last week, Sumerford cut the tape as the top finisher of the Freedom Run 10K held downtown.
Sumerford clocked in at 36:10, roughly two minutes ahead of the rest of the field. The time is a far cry from his collegiate personal record of 32:14.17 set at the 2016 Southern Conference Outdoor Championships, but that wasn't really the point for Sumerford. It is a “fun run” after all.
“It was a fun race,” he said. “This is my second year competing in it. It's never a race I train specifically for, but it's fun to run. I didn't run very fast but that's okay, I wasn't trying to set any PRs or anything like that. I just wanted to get in a decent effort for the day.”
The unique opportunity of representing not only his home town but also his school and team while surrounded by his local community was not something that was lost on Sumerford.
“The community aspect is great. I've grown up in Greensboro so getting to win a race running through downtown with so many people there I know was a lot of fun,” he said. “When I'm at events like this I always feel like I'm representing UNCG. It's an honor to be able to say I'm on the UNCG cross country and track team when people ask who I run for.”
While the exhibition race was a nice break from the typical competitive environment of a collegiate race, Sumerford is looking to build towards a solid senior campaign at UNCG. Head coach Chad Pearson expects nothing but for him to continue the steady upward trajectory he's demonstrated throughout his career.
“Luke's progress while a student-athlete for our XC/Track program at UNCG has been really impressive and we look forward to seeing how much faster he can get during the remainder of his time in Greensboro,” said Pearson. “Being from Greensboro, Luke understands that UNCG and Greensboro are great places to enjoy his student-athlete experience, both academically and athletically.”
Sumerford and his fellow Spartan Harriers open the 2017 season on Sept. 2 at the Elon University Opener in Elon, North Carolina.