FLEX international student from Ukraine and her American friend sit on the ground in their cross country uniforms
Yana (left) and her friend Britney are up to the challenge.

Off and Running

I’ve always wanted to challenge myself and try something that’ll be hard for me. After proper consideration, I decided to take cross country. In Ukraine, I used to run in the mornings from time to time, but I’ve never taken running seriously.

So after a couple of trainings, our coach said that we have a competition in a week. I was a little bit scared, because I didn’t want to fail. I was even thinking about not going, because I wasn’t ready—neither physically nor emotionally. But I asked myself one question, which I always ask if I doubt: “Why not?” So I got myself together and went to the competition. I ran three miles. It was so hard, and I was completely exhausted! But I don’t regret it, because I managed to take third place and even received a bronze medal and a T-shirt!

Now, I know that I should never doubt and give up, because it’s better to try and fail, than fail to try!

—Yana (FLEX, Ukraine), hosted by the Armstrong family (MS)