KALISPELL — Kalispell Flathead is home to some of the top cross country runners in the state this year, and the team is headlined by Lilli Rumsey Eash — who also takes pride in competing for her mom, the head coach.
"I really enjoy it, it’s a lot of fun just because she like knows me, she knows how I process, how I run and stuff and just she can really coach me up and just give me a lot of confidence," Rumsey Eash said.
And while it's all fun for Eash, her mom says that to coach her daughter things air a little more on the nerve-racking side.
"It’s definitely a little more anxiety riddled in there," Jesse Rumsey said with a nervous smile. "I always get nervous as a coach and you know as a coach the nerves don’t go away until the race is over. For an athlete the nerves usually go away when the gun goes off but the nerves run a little higher."
But when comes to the race-time prep that has led to her 18:31 personal record for the 5K, Eash doesn’t let nerves get to her.
"Psyching myself in, thinking about the race before usually helps me," said Eash. "And I think just kind of finding that grit inside, I guess kind of channeling that into the last mile or so, kind of just sticking it out."
And while running has its ups and downs, Eash knows the runner's high cant be beat.
"Obviously running and going on runs can be tough. And then obviously sometimes it’s super fun and you enjoy it," said Eash with a smile. "But I think there’s always like a borderline sense of accomplishment of like, ‘Hey I just went out and did that and I did this amazing thing that not a lot of other people do.’"
And it’s that mentality and all the work that she has put in that her mom and coach knows will set her up for the best opportunity to break her own PR.
"She’s taken all the steps," Jesse Rumsey said. "She’s set up for a great state meet, and if she wants it bad enough I know she can make it happen."