Lehi's Anna Martin at 2018 FootLocker XC-Finals

Lehi junior runner Anna Martin races at the 2018 FootLocker XC-Finals at Balboa Park in San Diego, Calif. on Dec. 9, 2018.

Saturday’s big 40th Annual Foot Locker Cross Country Championships National Finals in San Diego brought a mix of emotions for Lehi junior runner Anna Martin.

On the one hand, Martin was thrilled to get the chance to compete against the best runners in the country.

“If you look at the big picture, I’m one of 40 people who made it to this race,” she said in a phone interview on Saturday. “That’s really a big honor. It’s great to race in a national race with the best runners. It’s really cool.”

On the other hand, however, she wasn’t satisfied with her 34th-place finish in the race. She finished the 5-kilometer course in 19:00.6.

“It was a little disappointing for me,” Martin said. “I was aiming for something higher. But it was exciting to race in a national race and experience that atmosphere.”

She said the overall experience of the event was fantastic. She was one of only two runners from Utah to compete in the event this year (Skyline junior runner Thomas Boyden was the other).

“It is really different,” she said. “There are so many types of runners from so many different states. Being able to learn more about them is really cool. It’s kind of hard not being with your team or people you know, but it is cool to meet new people and learn more about them. It’s great to race with the best of the best.”

The Balboa Park course, however, proved to be a challenge for the Pioneer star.

“It was a really hard course for me,” Martin said. “I definitely don’t like courses where it is a loop. I like to not have to run over the same thing twice. This course was two loops and one of the interesting things about it was that it wasn’t ever flat. It was always slightly up or slightly down. That kept me working the whole time.”

She said that she definitely values the experience she gained and looks forward to making a return trip in 2019.

“Not having my best race is definitely something I can take forward with me,” Martin said. “Being able to learn from this and to change the things I did wrong will help me learn how to make myself better from this experience.”

Daily Herald sports reporter Jared Lloyd can be reached at 801-344-2555 or jlloyd@heraldextra.com. Twitter:

@JaredrLloyd. Instagram:

@JaredrLloyd.

Jared is the BYU football reporter for the Daily Herald.

See what people are talking about at The Community Table!