Interview with California state 3200 meter champion, Caleb Webb

1) How did you get your start in running? What others sports did you play?

Well, my start in running was not the conventional way, I was forced to run by my Dad to get in shape for basketball. Going into High School I was a basketball player and I fought my Dad on joining the Cross Country team. Now my whole family tries to take credit for my running, which they should because I could have never done it without them. Fours years later I never thought I would call myself a runner and I guess I don’t mind anymore.

2) What do you remember most about your freshman experience in high school in both cross country and track and field?
The thing I remember most about my freshman year is having upperclassmen on the team taking me under their wing. They got me through that tough first year and helped me to enjoy the season. I had a teammate, Bryan Hayes who believed in me and pushed me, especially in track to be the best I can be.

3) What do you feel was the first race for you that gave you the confidence that you can run with the best runners in the state?
At the end of my sophomore year in cross country I had a couple of breakthrough races at the California State meet and at Footlocker Western Regionals. Those two races proved to me that I was right there with some of the best runners in the state. Knowing I had two more years to continue to get faster and stronger gave me the confidence that I could run with and possibly beat anyone in the state.

4) Looking back at your senior season in cross country, what were your proudest accomplishments and best race?
Looking back at my senior season there were moments that I will never forget, but a couple stick out more than the rest. In cross country my proudest accomplishment was racing overseas in Scotland for team USA! Wearing the USA across my chest meant so much to me and getting the chance to represent my country was awesome. I felt my best race was my 3rd place finish at NXN. No one expected me to be able to run up front with the best in the country. That really motivated me to prove something.

5) Who is your coach and how has he helped you develop into the runner you are today?
Jonathan Stiles has been my coach for the past four years and he has been the perfect coach for me. I don’t know if I ever could have been as successful with a different coach. He cares as much about my running as I do, maybe even more, he also cares about me in general. We have a great relationship and I know I can always go to him for anything. I really could have never gotten this far without him.

6) What did a typical training week look like for you during cross country? How did it change during the track and field season?
A typical week for me during cross country was 65 miles;
Monday Hills mileage day
Tuesday Easy
Wednesday Workout day, mile repeats
Thursday Easy mileage day
Friday Easy
Sat Hilly long run day
Sunday Day off
During track my mileage stayed the same but I dropped the hills and this last season I added more leg workouts to keep my strength up. This allowed me to stay healthy and strong. The healthiest I’ve ever been through a track season. I also upped my track workouts to twice a week on Mondays and Fridays. This year I went down the hill for all of my “workouts”, which was beneficial being able to run at a faster pace and be on a rubber track.

7) How much of an influence have the Halls (Ryan and Chad) been to your success at Big Bear?
The Halls have been extremely influential on my success so far. They have been very supportive of me and my racing throughout my High School career. MickeyHall (former Big Bear coach and Hall dad) has been an influential mentor talking for hours and I appreciate his racing insights. It’s motivating to chase after their records knowing what they have accomplished.

8) Tell us about your win at the CA state meet in the 3200. What was your plan going into the race and how did the race unfold for you?
My win at the California State 3200m was one of those nights when everything goes to plan and you feel great. I told my coach, that was the easiest 8:47 I could have ever ran. Before the race I expected it to be a battle between Robert Brandt and I and I knew he would pace the race and keep it fast. I also knew all I had to do was stay with him for seven laps and I believed I could close well that last lap. The race unfolded perfectly for me to win and run a fast time, it was great feeling going down the final straight away with 8,000 people all watching you.

9) You chose the University of Portland. What led you to that decision and how many other colleges were considered?
I picked the University of Portland because it is the best school and program for me. I knew I wanted to go to a strong distance program which is why the University of Colorado was the other school I was interested in as well. The University of Portland and Coach Conner believed in me from the beginning and I could tell it was the right fit for me. Coach Conner is very similar to my High School coach making it an easy transition. I really love the city of Portland and I have close family friends living there.

10) Favorite cross country course? Favorite cross country invitational? Favorite long run? Favorite cross country workout? Favorite track and field distance? Favorite track and field workout? Favorite free time activity?
My favorite cross country course and Invitation is Mt. SAC. There’s something special about that course, all of its history and all of the great runners who have raced there before me. Racing in the biggest Invitational in the nation every year is always a highlight of my season. My favorite long run is any run in Big Bear running through the forest and being able to look down at our lake and the mountains. The farther the better for me in track and field. I’ve only done one 5k on the track making the 3200m my favorite event. I don’t think I have a favorite cross country or track and field workout, they all kinda suck! If I had to choose though I’d pick the workout where I gained the most. My favorite free time activity is bowling! Proud to say I’ve bowled a 160 before!

11) What is your advice for a young talented runner who has aspirations on reaching a similar level to you in California?
My first advice for a younger runner is to enjoy the moment. My Junior year I didn’t enjoy the moment of what I was accomplishing. I made sure I did my Senior year and I’m really glad I did. Advice more direct to running is that it’s the little things that matter the most. At a certain level everyone trains hard, but it’s not staying out late and getting enough sleep to recover right,taking your vitamins, having family and relationships right, having your spiritual life right, doing whatever it is that makes you that little bit better.

12) Anything else you would like to add.
I want to say thank you to everyone who has been there for me throughout my career, my family, my coach, my teammates, my friends, I never could have gotten to where I am today without them and all of their support!