Oct. 29, 2008
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - Junior Rue Chitwood has struggled through her running career her whole life. From not being able to finish a mile to coming 1/100th of a second from winning the state title her senior year. Through it all, the little goals of being able to finish the mile and breaking the state record even though she lost the state title made it all worthwhile.
Chitwood was a three-time state champion in high school and holds the school record in the 800m, 1600m, 3200m and 4x400m relay.
"I've always been a fighter, and struggle to me is the essence of what life's all about," Chitwood said. "Without struggle, I don't think you really make it to the promised land so to speak and that's really how I look at life in general."
Chitwood holds high goals and aspirations for herself, even if and when her peers tell her she can't do them. She was told she would never make it in running but now she is here running for The University of Alabama in the SEC.
Chitwood's current goal eyes the 2012 London Olympics. Her dream is to compete in the 800 meters for the United States of America. All her life people have told her it won't happen and even today people still say she can't. Chitwood is just taking little steps at a time to reach her goal.
As for the team, Chitwood hopes to help the team better and improve on last year's finish at the SEC Championships. The overall goal as a group is to make it to the NCAA Cross Country Championships as a team.
"We really want to be the team that everyone is intimidated by on the lineup," Chitwood said. "We really want to win the SEC and the Regional meet, and make it to nationals as team, and I really believe this group can do it."
Chitwood is an example that a lot of people can attempt to follow. She is a fighter and never gives up, even when the odds are stacked against her.
"It just takes sheer determination to not give up the fight, to ignore those who are going to put you down, and overcome the daily struggles of life to make that dream a reality."
She and the Crimson Tide will travel to Starkville, Miss. to compete at the SEC Championships on Nov. 3 being hosted by Mississippi State University. The junior from Tifton, Ga. will help lead the Tide.