Time flies as Alexa Efraimson continues to evolve as a professional runner for Nike.
The 19-year-old from Camas is in Bygoszcz, Poland for the U-20 World Championships. She wants to be the first American to win a medal in the 1,500-meter run.
“This will be my third USA team, and I love being able to represent the U.S. to the best of my ability,” Efraimson said. “I’m really excited for the opportunity to show how hard I’ve been training this entire season. I think that I am more prepared than I have been for any championship in my entire life.”
Efraimson earned this opportunity by winning the 1,500 Junior National Championship June 26. On July 7, 8 and 10, she competed in the U.S. Olympic Trials at Hayward Field, in Eugene, Oregon. Efraimson excelled through three rounds and finished in sixth place in the 1,500 finals with a time of 4 minutes, 7.34 seconds. She was just 1.18 seconds away from going to the Olympics.
“I definitely get shivers just thinking I had that opportunity,” Efraimson said. “Whether it’s a World Championship or an Olympic team, I would love to be able to represent the U.S. on an international level.”
Efraimson and her personal coach, Mike Hickey, are both thankful for the trials and tribulations of the past two years. Each setback and breakthrough has been a stepping stone for the future.
“The first two years were big adjustment periods for me, especially the first year because Hickey and I were still trying to figure out what it is to be a pro,” Efraimson said. “My job is running, which is something that I’m so passionate about. To be able to work out and travel across the U.S. and even the world, and being able to enjoy what I’m doing every single day.
“It’s a mentally tough sport and it’s a physically tough sport,” she added. “Sometimes, you have to get over those barriers when you’re not feeling good or not having the best workout.”
Although she admits her first training session after the Olympic Trials was painstaking, Efraimson persevered and gained confidence in her quest to win a medal for America in Poland.
“Sometimes when you’re not feeling good and you work out, you feel better after you work out just hitting those marks,” she said. “Realizing this is an entire process and taking it step-by-step, knowing there are a lot of different aspects that go into it and making sure I take care of all those things.”
Efraimson thrives on the hometown support from Camas as she continues to pursue her dreams.
“So many community members have been supportive, especially during the Olympic Trials, saying how well I represented the town. It means a lot to me to be able to bring this back to the town,” Efraimson said. “I try to represent my family’s name, my town’s name, my brand’s name and myself to the best of my ability. Anything I can bring back to those who have given so much to me, that’s what I want to do.”
Efraimson remains hopeful for the Olympics in 2020. She has advice for athletes who want to run in college, professionally or in the Olympics one day.
“Take each practice or each workout or each meet as a little stepping stone and not be so end-oriented,” Efraimson said. “You have to do the work to be able to get to those national and international meets.
“Just take it one step at a time and enjoy it,” she added. “Realizing how much work you put into that one moment is going to be awesome, but you have to get there first.”