by Alexandra Purcell
Running is a passion for many, but for freshman Paul Roberts at Colorado State University-Pueblo, it’s a way of life.
Roberts recently returned from the 42nd World Cross Country Championship hosted in Kampala, Uganda, where he represented not only CSU-Pueblo, but the United States as well. The event was held on March 26, 2017. According to the official results, Roberts finished 34th in his division with a time of 25 minutes and 31 seconds.
“I was the highest-finishing American,” he said. “That was a big honor. I’m pretty proud of that.”
Roberts said he grew up running and has been doing it since he was very young. As the fourth oldest in a family of 10, he was encouraged to run with the rest of his siblings. “We were all homeschooled,” he said. “So it was kind of like our physical education to go run for 20 minutes in the local park. I just followed along and went running with the big kids.”
A native of Boulder, Colorado, Roberts was encouraged to continue running once he began attending Lyons Middle/High School in sixth grade. His father was the cross country running coach, and according to Roberts, continuing his running career with the team was a no-brainer.
While at Lyons Middle/High School, Roberts was an accomplished cross country runner. He became the first male in the history of Colorado to win four individual titles as well as contributing his talent to winning four team titles, according to his biography page on CSU-Pueblo’s official sports website.
When the time came to choose a university after graduating high school, Roberts said the decision wasn’t easy. “I had a lot of schools interested in me and offering me scholarships (for running),” he said. His search for a school took him to Colorado State University in Fort Collins, CSU-Pueblo’s sister university, but he ultimately chose Pueblo instead.
“My sister (Miriam Roberts) is a junior here, and she’s also on the (cross country) team, so that was a big part of (the decision),” Roberts said. “I also really liked the team and the coach.”
He said the “small feel” of the campus was a big selling point as well.
Even though this is his first year at CSU-Pueblo, Roberts is no stranger to success. In late 2016, he represented the school at a national indoor track championship, where he finished 14th overall. “That isn’t a great result,” he said, “but I was proud to have even made it to nationals.”
Roberts said he would like to get to nationals every year as well as help CSU-Pueblo’s team win a national championship.
“I get along with (the cross country team) pretty well,” Roberts said. “I want to help them as much as I can while I’m still here. Moving forward, my goal is to win as many national championships as I can.”