MU men's cross country team looks to overcome illnesses

Friday, October 30, 2009 | 12:01 a.m. CDT
The men’s cross country team prepares for the Big 12 Conference meet that will be held Saturday in Columbia. This will be Missouri’s second time hosting the event.

COLUMBIA — The spread of the H1N1 flu virus has caused a heightened awareness of health risks across the country, but feeling under the weather is something the Missouri men's cross country team is familiar with.

Dan Quigley and Phillip King, two of Missouri's top runners, both missed time earlier in the season with symptoms that severely limited their breathing. Jared Wilmes, the MU cross country coach, said that while Quigley and King's illnesses were the most serious, everyone on the team suffered from minor illnesses throughout the season.

"That has been huge," Wilmes said of his team's illnesses. "As a runner, when you can't breathe, that's a big problem."

With the conference and regional meets in the back of his mind, Wilmes kept his runners out of early competitions to avoid damaging their long-term training goals.

"If you race when you're sick, sometimes it takes longer to recover from it," Wilmes said. "For the first two or three meets, you've got to start with the end in mind. Right now, we're looking a lot better than we were two weeks ago."

The team is healthy and back to a normal routine now, just in time. The conference meet Saturday is followed by the NCAA Midwest Regional meet on Nov. 14 — the two races Wilmes and his team circled on their calendar when training began over the summer.

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