Some know him as the guy who makes great conversation and omelets at eggs-to-order, others by his nickname “Salty.” For cross country runners in the Midwest Conference, however, Adam Dalton ’16 is known as a really fast racer. The S&B’s Jon Mehlhaus ’19 sat down with Dalton to discuss his humble beginnings, the upcoming season and pre-race meals.
JM: When did you start running and why did you stick with it?
AD: I started running in ninth grade, and it’s not as exciting as most people’s stories. My parents actually gave me an ultimatum. They said I could either get a job or I could join a sport and in Iowa there are only two fall sports: football and cross-country. I was short then and as skinny as I am now, so I’d literally die playing football. I was really bad [at running]. I actually got dead last at our conference meet. I stuck with it because, I mean, what else would I do with my time? I got better between my freshman and sophomore year. My junior year I got even better without trying much, and I was like wait, if I actually tried, maybe I could be good at this. Then senior year, I tried and was first or second in the state for most of the year.
You run both cross-country and track for Grinnell. Do you prefer one or the other?
Definitely cross-country. The reason for this is because in track my main event is the 10K. Basically you’re running twenty-five laps around a track and you can guess how fun that is. I like cross-country because you get to train by running through the woods, golf courses, all over the place, and it’s not repetitive. Also, the team atmosphere. In track you split into different events, where in cross-country everyone runs an 8K. I really like the cohesiveness, how everyone is in the struggle together.
What’s your favorite part about being on the cross-country team?
I just love the team culture. I like to call us the ‘least-sporty sports team’ because we’re a bunch of people, just really gangly, really awkward but you develop a really tight cohesion. You have a really weird schedule, you do really weird things for an inexplicable reason, but you really understand people for that reason.
What are your personal goals and expectations this year? Your team goals?
The goal is definitely for our team to win Conference. That is paramount every year. But then also we have a really good first-year class, so I’d like to see what we can do at Regionals, possibly even qualify for Nationals. Individually, I’d really like to qualify for Nationals. I was fast enough last year but I was kind of burnt out for Regionals. I want to be healthy enough and in the game when Regionals rolls around.
Do you think your team has a good shot to win conferences this year?
Definitely, we’re the favorite this year. We’re the favorites roughly every year. I think we have a very good shot. The team to look out for would be Lake Forest [College]. They didn’t graduate anyone and they brought in a lot of good freshmen. But we also brought in some good freshmen and have a lot of returners too. They will be our toughest competition at Conference.
What’s your favorite pre-race meal?
For the night before it’d be pasta. For a pre-race meal my go-to would be two oatmeal packets but instead of making it with water, I make it with coffee. Then it’s always maple brown sugar flavor. My go-to cool down meal, and I’ve gone with this ever since high school it’s not healthy at all, is a package of S’mores Pop-Tarts. Not super healthy, but probably more of a tradition at this point.