By this time of year, Brin Strouse’s odometer has been running pretty steadily.

Strouse, a distance runner from Urbana, typically spends her summers logging as many miles as she can.

This summer, her training covered some new territory, as Strouse competed in June at the International Mountain Running Youth Cup in Lanzada, Italy. She finished 21st and helped the Team USA girls win the bronze medal.

“I am really proud of my performance in the race,” said Strouse, one of four female runners for Team USA. “It was one of the most challenging races that I have ever run, more so than any road, cross-country or trail race that I have competed in. I felt that I remained mentally and physically tough throughout the race. I felt that my training prepared me well for the course.”

The 1,200-foot course featured close to 1,000 feet of uphill elevation change. Strouse said she watched videos of the course beforehand and focused on how to execute each part of the course rather than the difficulties.

“The terrain is often unforgiving, and there are no recovery stations,” she said.

Strouse is not the first Urbana runner to compete in this race. Her former teammate on the high school’s cross-country and track and field teams, Nathan Davis, ran the race in the summer of 2017 and finished 18th overall. He was the first U.S. male to cross the finish line.

“It was such an amazing experience being a part of Team USA,” Strouse said. “It was exciting being able to be part of a team of eight youth mountain runners from across the country. We marched in the opening ceremony parade with the American flag, just like the Olympics. Being able to represent my country was very rewarding and something that I will cherish forever.”

— Greg Swatek

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