Janel Passey is a freshman from Hailey, Idaho. She redshirted during indoor track season but will compete during outdoor track season beginning in March.
What is your favorite class?
When did you start running?
My parents said ever since I could walk I would want to run in front of them when we went on walks. I did track in elementary school, but I was a sprinter. I didn’t get into distance running until the summer before high school. My parents started training for a marathon, and I thought it sounded cool. I started running with them and I couldn’t breathe. My form was awful, but I decided to stick with it so I joined the cross country team. I was really bad, but by the end of my freshman year I was able to travel to state as an alternate.
When did you know you were good at running?
My junior year I could tell I was getting better, but it was my senior year when I really noticed I was improving as a runner.
Did you always want to run for BYU?
I did, I definitely didn’t think I’d make BYU’s team, so I was kind of bummed out about that. The plan was to come to BYU, and if I didn’t make the team, I would join running clubs or run on my own. I went back and forth about trying out, then I was told I should. If I didn’t make it, then I would just go on with my other plans.
What were tryouts like?
It was scary. We did a track workout then had to run two college races unattached. If we did well at the two college races, then we would be on the team. I felt like I did what I could and Coach Shane told me I did well. It was a big relief when he told our group we finally made it.
Cross country or track?
I like cross country because it’s a different terrain, and it’s more adventurous than running in a circle. I like it because it’s not so structured and always something new.
I really like BYU because of the religious aspect. It’s nice to be here where people have similar standards.
What are your favorite sports to watch?
I like to watch volleyball, basketball and gymnastics.
If you could be good at another sport, which sport would you choose?
Pole vaulting looks super cool, or rock climbing.
What is your hobby?
I do event organizing. I work with the Red Cross and do blood drives. I own my own 5K race so that’s been fun. I started doing it my junior year and did the race for charity. This will be my third year organizing the “Paint the Town” 5K race.
If you could meet anyone, who would it be?
I’d really like to meet Captain Moroni. I’ve always really looked up to him.
Who had the most influence on your running career?
My parents were always really big supporters. My high school coach was always the one who told me I had potential and told me I could do hard things. He helped me through a lot and helped me realize I could be a good runner.
What is your favorite part of your running?
I love distance running because it’s all about endurance and not giving up. It’s good for you mentally and physically but it’s also super fun. I’ve met some of the best people through running and had the greatest memories through running.
What was the most rewarding moment running?
Districts my senior year. I had never won a race before. I was seeded fifth, so I was like “Ok fifth is pretty good.’ Once the race started I moved into fourth and then third. I just thought, ‘Third is great so I’ll just stick here.’ My coach said, ‘Janel! You can do this! Don’t settle.’ So I moved into second and decided to go all out and went for first, and I actually ended up winning it.
What other talents do you have?
Some people say I’m good at drawing.
What are your pre-race rituals?
I always like to say a prayer in my mind or sing primary songs.
What is something few people know about you?
I’ve never had a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.
I am half-Argentine.
Who is your favorite musical artist?
What is your favorite movie?
I really like the Lord of the Rings series.
Part of Douglas Malloch’s poem, “Good Timber”
“Good timber does not grow with ease. The stronger the wind, the stronger the trees. The further the sky, the greater the length. The more the storm, the more the strength. By sun and cold, by rain and snow, in trees and men good timbers grow.”
If you could travel anywhere, where would you go?
It would be really cool to travel to Greece.
What do you want to do with your major?
I would like to possibly be an ultrasound technician.
Best track memory
My high school coach used to send the girls and boys teams out on long runs. We’d end up going in to the forest and playing a massive game of tag or hide-and-seek. We’d be chasing each other around but still get in our mileage.
One time at girl’s camp, we were pranking the other camps in our stake. On the way back to our cabin we thought we were getting chased by a bear. It was pitch black so we all turned and ran really fast. I ran right in to a thick wood sign and knocked myself out.
Advice for other runners
Run because you love to run. If you stick with it and you work hard you’ll definitely see results and improvements. Don’t give up on it.