Emily Dickson, '22

Emily Dickson sits on the bleachers on bourke field

You arrive at the course, wearing your racing uniform, warm-ups, and your hair back in your favorite racing hairdo. The smell of freshly cut grass fills your nose, your feet feel warm in your shoes, and you see teams filing into the tent city. You survey the course, it is a (insert weather) day, but no matter the conditions you feel strong, rested, and ready to run a great race.

Freshman Emily Dickson has spent much of her life participating in sports. From a young age, Dickson was involved with gymnastics. As she grew older, and through several sports-related injuries, Dickson came to the conclusion that gymnastics wasn’t the sport for her. From there, she moved on to ballet.

“I tried dancing, and I really liked that and it gave me some confidence,” Dickson said. 

Looking for something she could be involved with in high school, Dickson turned to running.

“It was my freshman year of high school when all my friends were saying how nice the cross country girls were,” Dickson said. “I didn’t understand that until I started running. They all have a similar, hardworking personality and they’re all super nice. I started running sophomore year and I haven’t stopped.”

Between gymnastics, dancing and now running, Dickson has always been drawn to sports that require a good amount of mental preparation in addition to physical preparation.

“As someone who’s struggled with anxiety most of my life, I feel like it’s funny that I drift towards these sports, but I think it’s because they’re so mentally taxing that at some point that all just melts away and you’re just doing the motions. It’s an escape—on a good day,” Dickson said.

While Dickson uses running as an escape, she also sees it as an opportunity to catch up with friends.

“Running is a built-in time where you get to talk to people. I know that every day on my hour run, I get to talk with my friends and we have great conversations,” Dickson said.

She made the decision to continue running in college where she is continuously inspired by cross country coach, Kathy Strecker.

“Coach Strecker is a super inspirational lady,” Dickson said. “She has great knowledge about running. She’s totally inspired me so much since I’ve been here. She’s an amazing person.” 

Before a race, Dickson has several pre-race rituals, much like any other runner. Whether it be sliding on her lucky whale socks or listening to a special playlist on the way to a race, she takes the time to mentally prepare before an upcoming race.

“I’m a firm believer in positivity. Eliud Kipchoge, the fastest marathoner in the world, smiles when he races, so I tell my family to yell at me to smile, and I do that too,” Dickson said.

Dickson loved running so much that she decided to start a blog about it this past January. Dickson considers the blog, called EvenPace, a sort-of diary. In the blog, she writes about health and wellness, mental health, running, confidence, and other topics that she has struggled with herself.

“The reason I write about that stuff is because it’s stuff I need to hear as well,” Dickson said. “I try to write about things that would be uplifting, or things I think people would need to hear.”

In the blog, Dickson shares what she’s learned about health and wellness through research. From a young age, she recalls always researching and continuously learning about things, but she’s also gained this knowledge from first-person experiences.

“I’ve struggled with some health stuff like an iron deficiency, so I’ve had doctors that explain those things to me,” Dickson said. “My mom is a dietitian. That’s influenced a lot of the things that I know about nutrition.”

Since her blog’s readership is slowly growing, Dickson decided to use her platform for a greater cause. This fall, she is selling shirts to benefit the Kansas City chapter of Girls on the Run.

“Girls on the Run is big in St. Louis and it’s really big here, too. It’s an organization that embodies everything I want to do with my blog, which is giving girls confidence and giving them tools to succeed,” Dickson said. “Athletics is an avenue to get there. It teaches you skills that don’t have to deal with being in school. It’s about your body and confidence and having control over things in your life.”

Dickson hopes that her blog will inspire others to find the importance of balance in their lives.

“Health is more than just the decisions you make. It’s your outlook, too,” Dickson said. “My writing style is very personal. I hope people think about writing and sharing it with other people because that can be a really good outlet and way to grow.”