Fourth-year runner thrives in nature

Nature: the physical world and everything in it, such as plants, animals, mountains, oceans and stars, that is not made by people.

Some people like the city, while some like nature, and Ben Whitman, fourth-year runner, sides with the latter. The trails of nature have led Whitman to the runner he is today.

Whitman has made his impact on both the cross country and track teams for the past four years setting a personal record in the eight kilometer race with a time of 26:32.2 and a 1500 meter time of 4:24.41. Additionally, he has received University Athletic Association All-Academic honors.

Long distance running requires immense determination and an almost innate “wiring” or “love” for running. Whitman combined his two loves, while growing up, by running through nature, often with friends at night. Whitman specifically recalled that his night runs were creepy but thrilling at the same time, because he could see the eyes of forest animals watching him. In fact, one time he almost ran into a turkey which, besides scaring Whitman, actually caused the typically ground dwelling bird to fly away.

Whitman’s running career kept flourishing after high school. He cited the Great Lakes Regional Championships this past November as the defining point in his career. He was in his best physical shape, and it was the last cross country race he ran in.

He said, “It was crazy to realize that my cross country career was over, considering I’ve been running competitively for 10 years now. It’s important to appreciate what you have in the moment.”

Academically, Whitman will graduate with a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering. He loves all the different applications of mechanical engineering.It leaves him many open doors when it comes to getting a job. Whitman researches electrochemical engineering practices, solidifying his passion for mechanical engineering.

After graduation, Whitman is ready to enter the workforce, hopefully in the energy sector. Tying back to his love of nature, he wants to reduce the use of limited resources.

Off the track and free of academics, Whitman is an active member of Tau Beta Pi, an engineering honors society that puts on events like the semesterly Core Cram. Whitman also is the vice president of Slow Food at Case Western Reserve University, whose aim is to eat good, clean and fair food. In Slow Food at CWRU, the group educates people on their eating habits, visits and volunteers at farms and cooks dinners together.

Even though free-time is at a premium, Whitman does make sure to take advantage of the limited time he has. His favorite activities are spending time with friends, and cooking because he wants to develop the skills to be able to make delicious food for himself.

Quoting James Keller, Whitman said, “‘A candle loses nothing by lighting another candle.’ It has to do with the concept of paying it forward. I think the world needs more people who live like that.”