JACKSONVILLE - With nearly 3,500 runners around her; with 3,479 behind her, former Ridgeview High distance running standout Alexandra Midgett, 29, a former Florida State University cross country and …
JACKSONVILLE - With nearly 3,500 runners around her; with 3,479 behind her, former Ridgeview High distance running standout Alexandra Midgett, 29, a former Florida State University cross country and head women coach and now a graduate student runner at Savannah College of Art and Design, emerged as third place female at the Community First Thanksgiving Distance Classic, a 13.1 mile half marathon race on Thanksgiving Day in Jacksonville.
"I had been at FSU for 10 years between running, a knee injury and coaching and decided I needed to do something different," said Midgett, named the Sun Conference runner of the year after the Savannah women's cross country team, led by Midgett's first overall finish, dominated the Conference championship race with just 15 points (a cross country shutout with SCAD scoring top five finishers). "I gave Savannah a call, we talked about my year of eligibility and the coach called me back later that day and asked if I would come to his team. And, I did."
Midgett finished the half marathon with a one hour, 22 minutes, 26-second split for third behind winner Kelsey Pontius, 32, who won in 1:17:57, and Hayleigh Haid, 23, in second at 1:18:47.
Midgett's half marathon finish was 21st overall with the men's winner, David Too, 29, winning in 1:08:53 as the top three runners all broke 1:10 for the event in one of the fastest fields in recent history.
At Savannah, with their cross country ranked 19th in NAIA polls, Midgett, a 2012 graduate of Ridgeview High School, has returned to racing with fervor with her 53rd place finish for 6K in 23:02.1 to be SCAD's top finisher at the November 17 NAIA National Championships in Vancouver, Washington. SCAD finished 16th team in the championship race.
"I ran at Ridgeview, walked on at FSU, ran four years, tore an ACL and then became a volunteer women cross country coach and, last year, was the head women coach," said Midgett. "I got my degree in exercise physiology so I had the smart degree, now I want to get the fun degree; a master's in filmmaking, so I can make movies."
Midgett has maintained an impressive level of excellence in both her running and her coaching and said her sharing of ideas with the coaching staff and her teammates has made the transition even more fruitful.
"Our coach knows my background and my teammates kind of know a bit, but I am just along for the ride and to help make the team better," said Midgett. "It's been a nice experience to be able to contribute at my age."
For her physical well-being, Midgett maintains a strong flexibility regimen with some cross fit and, if need be, some off time and some fun time.
"I would tell younger athletes, be consistent, that's the key, be patient, it doesn't happen overnight and do all the little things; stretching, diet, therapy, to keep the body and mind healthy," said Midgett. "I've had the privilege of being able to compete at a high level in four different jerseys; Ridgeview, FSU, SCAD and the 1st Place Sports Elite Team."
Midgett plans to challenge her personal best of 1:21 in the half marathon at the Ameris Jacksonville Half Marathon on December 10 where she was the second female last year.