On June 11, as Heather Lieberg toes the starting line she must push her nerves aside for a chance to make Governor’s cup history.
“A 5k makes me really, really nervous,” Lieberg said. “I’m not use to this sort of race. I’m use to more endurance racing so I have the worst nerves [about the 5K].”
The Capital High alum already owns the Governor’s Cup records in the marathon, half marathon and 10K. If she sets the record in the 5K, she will hold all four records at the same time.
As a long distance runner, the 5k will be her toughest feat. Her skill set allows her to prepare easier for a 26-mile race than a 3-mile race. However, a strong coach eases the transition from long track to short track.
“[The 5K] is more of a speed event,” David Morris, Lieberg’s running coach, said. “You’re well over your lactic threshold. So, you’re getting that heavy feeling in your legs.”
They’ll be plenty of motivation to set the 5K course record. The current record holder and 10-time champion on the course Nicole Hunt will also compete this weekend. However, Lieberg says the two have a friendly rivalry.
“We’re not really competitive,” Lieberg said. “I look up to the successes [Nicole Hunt’s] done. She’s more of a role model for me.”
Even with record in sight, Heather Lieberg has bigger goals in sight for 2016 and beyond.
“A week after the 5k, I’ll be running the grandma’s marathon,” Lieberg said. “In 2017, possibly looking for another spot on the [United States] world team.”