When Quinn Schneider woke up last Sunday and saw a snowstorm had left eight inches of snow on his doorstep, he wasn’t disappointed.
“Any time we get the chance to have snow, I really love it,” the North Carolina high school senior said.
Like any other teenager, he likes that it usually means school’s canceled so he has extra time with his friends, but on this particular day, Schneider, who the Charlotte Observer named the state’s best boys cross-country athlete of the year, liked it for a different reason. It posed a new physical challenge.
“I’ve run in the snow before,” the 18-year-old said, “but nothing like that deep of snow.”
Schneider, who follows a strict training regimen, said he could’ve taken the day off, but then he thought about what an Olympian would do.
“You’ve got to stay in your [training] routine,” he said. “If you get out of your routine, it’s not as effective.”
And so he grabbed a shovel and walked out the door.
“I’m not going to let the snow be an excuse not to go run today,” he remembered thinking.
Schneider eventually made his way to his high school’s track and started digging.
Schneider says it took him an hour to shovel the snow off one of the lanes at the Woodlawn School near Charlotte because he wanted to be careful not to damage the track. This “workout before the workout,” however, ended up being well worth it.
“All that work was so much better than having to run on a treadmill,” Schneider said in a video of the adventure that his dad helped put together this week.
Schneider, who said he runs about 60-70 miles per week, ended up running about 10 miles that day, which turned out to be easier on his body than the shoveling.
“The next day I definitely felt the workout from the shovel just in my shoulders and arms and back,” he said, adding with a laugh, “it’s always important to do cross training.”
When Monday rolled around, Schneider said he heard from his cross-country coach, who was impressed he had shoveled off the lane, which others would also end up using.
“He knew it was me right away,” said Schneider, who’s committed to run cross-country and track at the U.S. Naval Academy this fall. “He was really excited.”
Schneider, who began running as a seventh grader five years ago, won his second straight North Carolina Independent Schools 1A state title last year by putting up a time of 15:40.40 in the 5,000 meters, according to the Observer. It was the third time the high school senior broke 16 minutes in the distance this year.
Schneider said he’s prepared to deal with what might be more snow on a regular basis next season in Annapolis, but for now he’s enjoying the back-to-above-freezing winter temperatures in North Carolina.
“I’m pretty happy with the weather here,” he said on Saturday, apologizing if he sounded a little bit out of breath on the phone. Naturally, he had just finished his daily run.