On Nov. 20, junior Perry Mackinnon raced at the NCAA Cross Country Championships, held at Apalachee Regional Park in Tallahassee, Florida. Mackinnon came in 173rd, finishing the 10K race in 30:49.6. Among the 253 runners, Mackinnon was one of only two Ivy League runners to compete individually, having secured a bid at the NCAA Northeast Regional Championships on Nov. 12.
“It’s a dream to be there because I’ve watched that championship race so many times in the past growing up and watching the best compete there,” Mackinnon said. “To be part of it was really special and humbling.”
After a canceled sophomore season due to the COVID-19 pandemic, recovering from a summer injury this season and a fall during an earlier race, Mackinnon’s achievements are impressive. In spite of this, Mackinnon hoped for better results in Saturday’s intense competition.
“I was aiming for an All-American, which is top 40,” Mackinnon said. “I did the best I could on the day and I did really give my best effort. I just don’t think it was the best performance I could have put out there.”
Regardless, this race gave Mackinnon an opportunity to experience running with some of the most talented collegiate runners in the nation. He said he learned valuable lessons during the race, emphasizing the humbling nature of the course.
“I really did the best I could with what I was dealt with and I had a very short period of time to get super fit,” Mackinnon said. “I didn’t perform quite as well as I could have and the way I see it is now I can reset, put in the work and start how I want to. Moving forward, I’ll be in a much better position and I’ll be ready to do some big things. I think competing at the highest level and having seen it firsthand and loved it, I’m prepared.”
Now, Mackinnon is looking ahead to this year’s track seasons, in addition to his senior cross country season next fall.
“I’m excited to see what my potential is on the indoor and outdoor track and field. I think I can do some really good things there,” he said. “I’m not going to dwell on this. Now, I’m probably going to run close to 100 miles this week. There’s a lot more work to do to try and get better.”
The Cornell track and field teams will meet at Barton Hall for the Greg Page Relays on Dec. 4 to kick off the indoor season.