James Thomas: Broomfield To Montana State


James ThomasBest Marks

1,600 - 4:40

3,200 - 9:54

5,000 - 15:06


Q) Talk about the recruitment process - what other schools were you looking at, and how did you come to choosing the Montana State?

I started looking at schools at the beginning of quarantine and ended up narrowing down my options to Montana State, CU Boulder, Portland, and Metro State. All of the coaches I talked to were super helpful in giving me advice about the recruitment process and college running.

After looking more closely into Montana State I realized that it is the perfect school for me because of the academics they provide, the track and cross country programs, and the beautiful location of the campus.

Q) What do you plan to study at Montana

Although I have not fully decided, I am interested in studying environmental sciences and conservation. Thai is something that I am passionate about and would love to make my career in the future.

Q) What event do you see yourself focusing on at Montana

I see myself as more long distance oriented rather than mid distance so I would probably focus on events ranging from the 3,000 to 10,000, as well as the 8k in cross country.

Q) You've had success in the 3,200 on up to the 5k - what would you say your favorite event is, and why?

My favorite event, hands down, is the 5k. In my opinion it is the perfect racing distance and I prefer racing on variable XC courses rather than on a track. Throughout the years I've become very familiar with the distance from the countless races I have competed in so running 5000 meters just feels like second nature.

Q) You've consistently made big leaps every year (19:06 as a freshman, 16:22 as sophomore (66th at State), 15:49 as a junior (18th at State), and 15:06 as as senior (sixth at State) - what would say attributed to such a big improvement, and such consistency? 

I contribute my success to my coaches, Greg, George, Hazard, Mrs. Davidson, Coach Braun, and The Ryan Albert Parker. They are at practice pushing my teammates and I everyday no matter how much of a pain we are to them.

The only thing I hear during the race other than my own breathing and footsteps is Greg's booming voice telling me "KICK IT IN THOMAS!!"

Also, I of course couldn't have done any of it without my friends and teammates along the way. I started running with some of the varsity kids on the team in between my freshman and sophomore year. Although I was really bad at it at first, those guys became some of my best friends and pushed me through the rest of the season and ultimately inspired me to take running more seriously over the next few years.

Q) The first result we have on you on MileSplit is a 12:28 3,000, 58th-place finish in the Boulder Valley Middle School Invite in September 2015 - What do you remember from this competition?

I'm pretty sure this was my first middle school XC meet ever. I remember on the 7th my mom told me the school was starting a cross country team and I was confused because I had never skied cross country before. Then she told me it was running, except rather than on a track it was on trails and grass which sounded pretty fun to me.

I remember it was a modified shorter version of the Pat Patten course at Veeley lake which was exciting for my 7th grade self because we got to run over a bridge. The part I remember most was the sheer size of the race and how I immediately got pushed way back in the pack. However this did not concern me because I was just having a good time running. This race really kick-started my love for running and is part of the reason I still run to this day. 

Q) What got you interested in competing in XC/Track in the first place? 

My grandparents live in a small 250 person town up Michigan that holds a festival each year in July called Razzasque Days. The festival had a 5k hosted by the local HS XC team and my mom thought it would be a good Idea to drag my 6 year-old self through the whole course. I remember being excited before the start of the race but once I hit mile one that's when the complaining began.

However, my mom encouraged me through and I was able to mostly run, with a few walk breaks, all the way to the finish line. After that I had decided in my mind that I was a distance runner and once I got to middle school, it inspired me to join the track team and then the rest is history.

Q) Favorite book, musical artist, and movie: 

Although I don't read much, my favorite book of all time has to be "Touching the Void" by Joe Simpson because of the cool mountaineering and intense action scenes. My favorite artist, without question, is Pink Floyd. They have been my most listened to artist on spotify for the past 4 years and one of my favorite things to do is sit down for 45 minutes to an hour and just listen to one of their albums straight through. My favorite movie is probably Step Brothers because no matter how many times I watch it, it's still funny.

Q) What would your favorite high school moment be?

My favorite high school moment is probably XC Camp every summer. It is my favorite because it's a 3 day trip to the mountains with some of my best friends and we get to run in really cool places.