For White River High School senior Marcus Dickson, the journey toward becoming one of the nation's elite high school distance runners started with a simple goal when he was in kindergarten: he wanted to run as fast as he could during the Dickson family annual mile fun run at Deep Lake.
"My grandpa ran, my dad ran, and my brothers ran at (Auburn High School), and so when I was in kindergarten, I knew I wanted to run and run as fast I can," he said.
Fast forward to 2012 where Dickson has burst on to the national high school track and field scene setting the fastest time in the nation in the 1,600 meters earlier this spring in his last home meet against Sumner on April 26.
Dickson ran a 4:05.83, breaking the school record set by Andy Maris in 1989 (4:06.61). The buildup to that day was intense and Dickson talked about his road to that record setting day with Patch.
"It felt painful, that's for sure," he said. "My teammate Kody Gould ran a 2:02 pace with me for the first two laps, and with it being the last home meet in Buckley, I was very motivated to run as hard as I could in front of the school and community."
White River distance coach Dameon Marlow lauded Dickson's achievements and the positive impact it has had on the rest of the squad.
"Marcus has always been a very talented runner, he has put in the work in the off-season to reach the elite level," Marlow said. "He also sets a great example for the rest of the team. He is very much a team player and is more than willing to help his teammates out during practice or meets. During meets Marcus has helped pace other athletes to faster times."
Marlow said he enjoys watching Dickson perform at such an elite level. "Watching Marcus race at these big meets when he posts these fast times is exciting and inspiring. What he can do on the track is amazing," he said.
Dickson said his commitment of his teammates is a big component of his success and the team's success.
"My teammates are a good group, very dedicated runners," Dickson said. "We do a morning run and an after school run to get a little more than 50 miles per week in. ... I wouldn't be here without my teammates and the all the hard work we have put in."
With the prep season hitting the home stretch, Dickson said he wants to help the team win a state championship. "I think it would be great to go out as a senior and help bring a state championship back to Buckley as we have only won two state team championships in 1974 and 1989."
With graduation on the horizon and a spot in the BYU cross country and track programs secured, Dickson is looking forward to participating in the prestigious Dream Mile on June 9 in New York City.
"They select the top 14 runners with the fastest times in the nation," he said. "I found out through an email, it's really cool as they also pay for me and a parent to go back to New York City."
Dickson on his goal for the Dream Mile: "I definitely want to go back there and set a PR and do well."
The Jim Ryun Dream Mile will take place at Icahn Stadium in New York City which holds 15,000 spectators as part of the Adidas Grand Prix on June 9.
Marcus Dickson 2012 Keynote Outdoor Track Performances
1,600 Meters: 4:05.83 vs Sumner April 26, 2012
800 Meters: 1:49.45- Shoreline Invitational, April 28, 2012 State Record: 1:49.41
1,600 Meters: 4:07.18- Brooks PR Invitational, Dempsey Indoor Facility , University of Washington, February 26, 2012