The Last Race
When Andrew Foxenberg took the line for the 3,000-meter race at the 2008 NCCAA Indoor Championships, he knew it could be his last competition as a member of the Geneva College track team.
Andrew was in his fifth season with the Golden Tornadoes, but this was his first year as a member of Geneva’s newly installed indoor program. Perhaps the greatest distance runner in Geneva history, he was a national qualifier in cross-country and a four-time national qualifier in outdoor track. He holds the school record in all five outdoor track and field distance events, encompassing everything from the 3,000-meter steeplechase to the marathon.
Although a gifted athlete, Andrew arrived at the national stage through sheer hard work and determination. His last workout at Geneva prior to the nationals consisted of a series of 12 x 400-meter repeats. After shoveling the snow from the track, he ran all 12 repetitions in approximately 70 seconds, completing one of the best workouts his coaches had ever seen.
Now Andrew was set to compete in the second heat in the 3,000-meter event, a race he needed to win in order to gain All-American status. Starting in typical “Fox” style, he came through the first lap with the lead and was cruising as he approached the first mile with a five-second lead.
But as he continued to lead the field into his seventh lap, the worst of all running nightmares occurred to Geneva’s best. Andrew fell as he collided with a non-competing athlete who had mistakenly wandered out onto the track. Cool as could be, he got to his feet and kept going, but the fall had cost him. He had lost his five-second cushion and, more importantly, his rhythm and pace for the remainder of the race.
When Andrew crossed the finish line in third place, an angry Geneva coaching staff wanted to find out exactly what had happened on the track. Andrew responded in words they would never forget, “It’s OK, coach, It’s OK.” Then, after he had caught his breath, the Fox smiled and walked away, gaining the respect of both coaches and teammates for a race and a career well done.
Head track and field coach Bret Otte says that sport is not about the trophies, the championships or the time on the clock. It’s about the journey. It’s about the pursuit of the goal. It’s about glorifying God. In that final moment after the race had concluded, Andrew showed his coaches and the world who he was as an athlete. He didn't win a championship that day, but he did etch his legacy into the hearts and minds of Geneva College track and field forever.
- by Van Zanic, Sports Information Director