No Event Too Long Or Short: An Interview With Liam Dennis

Liam Dennis isn't your typical high school runner. The Mount Gilead graduate has competed in events as short as the 60H and events as long as the 5000m, and has even competed in the high jump!

Not only does Dennis compete in these events, he competes at a high level owning, PR's such as 15.29 for the 110H, 1:55 for 800m, and 15:44 for 5K XC.

We were able to catch up with the Butler University commit to discuss his diverse range in events, his college goals, and much more! Many thanks to Liam for chatting with us!

MileSplit Ohio: First off, thank you for chatting with us Liam! Let's flashback to your childhood years. When did you first start running, and do you recall any of your childhood races?

Liam Dennis: Thank you for having me! As far as running goes I didn't begin running until my 7th grade year when I joined the track team. In the years prior to that I had played baseball, soccer, basketball, and football. I never ran any races during my childhood but I have always had a mentality for racing. I remember after every soccer practice I would stay and race my teammates and I believe that is when I decided that I should begin running track.

MileSplit Ohio: Was there a certain moment when you realized you'd be able to compete at such a high level?

Liam Dennis: I believe my turning point was my freshman year during cross-country season when I ran 16:59 at the state meet. This performance may not be an impressive time now but for me, but after only running hurdles during my previous 2 years of track, I realized that I can push myself to do anything I put my mind to.

MileSplit Ohio: The question everyone wants to know the answer to, what made you want to compete in a variety of events ranging from field events to distance events?

Liam Dennis: I think that there are a lot of factors that go into the reason I compete in so many different events. First being that I can compete well in so many events. This past winter during indoor season I qualified to state in 6 different events. I also raced 4 different events at the 2019 outdoor state track and field meet. In addition to that, I believe that my coaches attempt to put me in the events that will earn the most points for my team. There are times that I wish I had specialized in just one or two events, but at the end of the day I am grateful that my coaches maximize my talent to help the team. There is no feeling better than earning a team title.

MileSplit Ohio: What are some bumps in the road that you've encountered when it comes to training for different events during the track and field season?

Liam Dennis: Training during the track and field season is by far the most time consuming and most difficult training period I have. My time is mostly spent hurdling and doing distance training. A normal day for me consisted of running a hurdle workout and then adding on a few miles at the end, or vice versa. This has created multiple issues for me such as being unable to work on block starts, sprint mechanics, and weightlifting as much as I would like to. In order to complete these I would spend up to an extra couple hours at the track.

MileSplit Ohio: Track and Field or Cross Country?

Liam Dennis: This is a question I have been asked by many for years and I am still unable to confidently answer it. I enjoy cross county because of the always changing scenery and the team bonding that can be obtained due to the smaller team size. But, I would say that track and field is my favorite. There are just so many things in track that you can't experience in cross country. First, the ability to win a team title thanks to so many of your teammates. Also, since there is such a variety of events and so many teammates, there are so many personal bests always being broken. Seeing a teammate set a new personal best might be the best feeling behind winning a team title. I also enjoy track and field due to the ability of competing in multiple events. This is very helpful because having one bad race won't ruin your day as much as a bad cross country race. You have the ability to make up for a bad race later in the day. But don't get me wrong, they are both great sports and I believe that they go hand-in-hand with creating great runners by building both physical and mental strength.

MileSplit Ohio: Let's discuss the college searching process. What was that like, and what schools did you look at?

Liam Dennis: The college searching process was completely new to me as I am the first person in my family to attend college to compete in sports. I believe I was a little late when I started looking at schools, but I can confidently say I made the right choice to attend Butler University. At the beginning of my college search I was talking to multiple schools and when I received my first offer I immediately wanted to accept it, but luckily I had a strong group of people supporting me and telling me to keep patient. Towards the end of my college search I was deciding between attending The Ohio State University, The College Of Wooster, the University Of Minnesota (Twin Cities), and Butler University. As I said before I am attending Butler University and am still a novice to the whole college experience, but I couldn't be more excited to get on campus.  

MileSplit Ohio: You obviously went with Butler, what factors played a role in that decision and what did you like most about the school?

Liam Dennis: The thing that first caught my eye with Butler was their job placement rate and their opportunity for internships. Being a business major, I know that having a good education and work experience is very important, so that is what I had as my main priority. At Butler, which is located near downtown Indianapolis, you are required to have at least two internships before graduation. This is very rare among universities in the United States, and I was very excited when I found this out. As for athletics, I researched their athletic programs, mainly running, and saw that they are a growing school that is becoming a very strong team in both their conference and in the nation. I knew that this was the school for me when I had an overnight visit and learned about the culture they have there.

MileSplit Ohio: Obviously with the current situation, most athletes are training solo. How's the training been like for you this summer?

Liam Dennis: This summer I have been training solo mostly. Before we knew that our season was officially over, I was still training with a small group of teammates. Running alone has been very difficult for me, but I believe that it has made me a lot stronger and I have learned many things along the way. Currently I am training with my high school coach along with a few of my old high school teammates that are also doing college training.

MileSplit Ohio: What are some goals and expectations you have for your college career?

Liam Dennis: In college I do not plan to be an immediate stud or possibly ever be the best on the team. I just plan to help the team to reach their goals and become the best possible runner I can. My first goal at Butler University is to run at the Regional track and cross country meet. Other than that, I would just like to reach my maximum potential and utilize it to the best of my ability to help my team.

MileSplit Ohio: Let's take a break from the running world. What are some hobbies and interests you have outside of running?

Liam Dennis: Outside of running I enjoy hanging out with my girlfriend, friends, and family. I do not have much free time outside of running and doing school work, so I spend it with the people that are important to me. I also enjoy traveling when I have the opportunity, and playing video games when I am bored. Before I go to bed I enjoy reading articles about health and fitness to help me better my lifestyle and help me become a better runner.

MileSplit Ohio: Who is your role model, and why?

Liam Dennis: My parents are my role models. They have shown me what it is like to work hard in order to get the things I want in life. They are also the greatest supporters. They both work countless hours a week and still have managed to make it to every single one of my athletic and academic events. I couldn't be luckier.

MileSplit Ohio: Everyone has a bucket list, so give us some of things on your list!

Liam Dennis: My bucket list includes traveling across the world, running a marathon, and going skydiving. To be honest these all sound terrifying to me but I can't wait to do them.

MileSplit Ohio: Any final comments? Shout-outs?

Liam Dennis: I'd just like to thank my friends, family, coaches, and community for always supporting me and pushing me to be where I am today.