Senior cross country runner Adam Thorne found himself standing on a stage. By this time, he knew it was either his Ferris High School team, or the Texas team standing next to him, that won the Nike Cross Country Nationals on December 5.

“There wasn’t a sure favorite,” Thorne says. “We knew whoever brought it that day was going to win.” He thought the results were a tie. They all did. If not, why would they bring both teams on stage? As ill fate would decide, it wasn’t a tie, and the Ferris team took second place. “A reporter talked to me when I got off the stage but I didn’t have anything to say,” Thorne says. “It was all too bittersweet.”

Although Thorne doesn’t know the official point spread, he’s heard it’s as little as six points. “I’ve heard if someone ran three seconds faster on our team we would have won.” As time has passed, the sting of defeat doesn’t hurt as bad as it once did. After all, the team wasn’t favored to run as well as they did, Thorne says. Not to mention, Thorne led the Ferris team and individually placed 10th, running a personal best of 15:25:50.

What lead Thorne to the national stage was a long history of running. He competed in his first race in first grade. “I think my parents told me it would be fun so I did,” he says. “I just never stopped from there.” He ran throughout elementary and middle school, but things didn’t get serious until he joined the Ferris High School cross country team—who were ranked first place at the time. “That team really showed us the ropes,” he says. “They really inspired us to achieve the things that they did.”

Thorne says it will be hard to graduate and leave the close group of guys that have been best friends and running together since elementary school. “We’ve had a good year of personal records,” he says. “We just love to see each other run well.” In February, Thorne signed his letter of intent to run cross country and track and field with Stanford University. Although tentative, Thorne says he wants to study medicine.

The decision came between Brigham Young University—who hosts one of the best coaches—and Stanford. “But I figured Stanford is a great opportunity not only for running but educationally,” he says. “It’s too good to pass up.”

Thorne says academics, on top of the transition from high school running to college running will be difficult. He’s confident, however, that he’ll have a lot of help. “Stanford is one of the best schools in the country,” he says. “I think their cross country team average is a 3.5. They just treat their athletes so well and get them the help they need.”

Perhaps the greatest help Thorne receives is from his own motivation. He says he works just as hard or harder as everyone else, it’s just that they’re all going after the same goal. No matter how far his running career takes him, one thing’s certain. He’ll always be a great representation of the running culture and legacy in Spokane.

Here’s the gear you’ll see Thorne training in this spring and summer to get ready for Stanford:

SHOES: Thorne runs with orthodics in his shoes and switches between Asics Kayono running shoes and Nike Vomeros. “I just wanted to get used to running in Nike because I’ll get free ones in college (they sponsor the Standford Cross Country team),” he says. “But they are a great shoe with good cushion.”

SPIKES: Thorne says spike models change every year, but he generally runs in Nike track spikes for both track and cross country events. The Nike Zoom Victory Spike is 3.6 ounces and is extremely light for track, he says. For cross country he prefers to run in Nike Zoom Matumbo spikes. “There’s not a huge amount of plastic on the spike so it’s not a problem when you get on uneven surfaces,” he says.

SOCKS: Thorne says he had problems with blisters his sophomore year because he ran in cotton socks. Now he swears by Balega Socks.

SHORTS: Whatever he can get his hands on. Thorne says he likes his shorts shorter, to about mid thigh. “Shorter shorts are light and generally have comfortable liners,” he says. “They’re best for hot weather runs.”

SHIRT: Nike singlets.