"Run Good" Anyway

By Jessica Jackley '00

I had the privilege of running cross country and track for Coach Art Gulden during my time at Bucknell. Coach Gulden's 31-year legacy is well known. He led both the men's and women's teams to some of the most impressive victories in Bucknell's history and has been greatly missed since his passing in 2001.

My favorite memory of Coach Gulden is not about any particular race won, but about an ordinary, blustery, gray winter day of practice. I had stayed up late the night before to finish a paper. After just a few hours of sleep, I awoke with a slight fever and a scratchy throat. I dragged myself to cross country practice and prayed for an easy workout. What I got was the opposite — an eight-mile loop taking us outside Lewisburg onto quiet roads including a few hills through Amish country. I felt like I was going to crumble.

As Coach Gulden dismissed us and my teammates made their way toward the door, I walked up to him. On the verge of tears, I mumbled, "Coach, I don't know if I can do this today. I'm so tired and I don't feel well and ... " He cut me off, asked me a bit about my symptoms and then said, "You'll be fine. Get out there." The tears began to fall. Seeing this, Coach Gulden put his hands on my shoulders, looked straight into my eyes, and said, "Jessica. You don't have to feel good to run good. You'll see. Now go."

I kept up with the team that day and finished the run. (I also slept about nine hours that night to beat the oncoming cold, which I did.) Because of Coach Gulden, I discovered a new strength within myself. And in the years since, his words have inspired me to perform even in those moments when I feel like I can't - as an overwhelmed graduate student; as an entrepreneur navigating difficult decisions; as an exhausted new mother of twins; and yes, as an athlete, though I now do more jogging than running, and more yoga than jogging.

Thank you, Coach, for teaching me to "run good" anyway.