Junior Miles Batty celebrates winning the BYU Autumn Classic (Photo by Mark Philbrick/BYU Photo)
Giving up something good to go for the great can be a hard thing to do. For Miles Batty, it is a way of life.
The 6-foot-0 junior from Sandy is a standout runner on the BYU cross country team in the fall and track & field team in the spring. He is also studying to get into medical school.
Despite being busy, Batty is serious about running and that choice has forced him to make some sacrifices in different aspects of his life.
“I try my best to do as well as I can to balance,” Batty said. “Sometimes I have to sacrifice class time to travel with the team and sometimes I have to sacrifice some fun to go to bed early.”
Just because he misses class sometimes does not mean school is something he is willing to sacrifice. Batty, a two-time Academic All-Conference selection and a Mountain West Conference Scholar-athlete, has maintained a near perfect GPA throughout college. In high school, he was the salutatorian with a 4.0 GPA.
“School is really important to me,” Batty said. “I’m trying to do everything I can to get into medical school.”
Batty is currently working on a double major in exercise science and neuroscience; not exactly a walk in the park as far as studies go. While medical school is what Batty wants to pursue for a career, running and competing will continue to be a driving force in his life.
“For me it’s going to be my future with my family and career, but of course I would like to keep running in the mix,” Batty said.
Batty has actually not been competing since he was very young like many of his teammates and competitors. His first real race took place when he was a freshman in high school when he ran track and cross country.
Discovering he had a talent for running was just a matter of time.
“I did alright for a freshman but I wasn’t anything special,” Batty said. “Each year after that I just got better.”
He continued to work on getting faster throughout his years in high school, yet he still felt like he was not completely convinced he was really any good.
“My sophomore year I realized I might be good at a state level and then my senior year I won the state championship,” Batty said. “Even then I wasn’t really competitive at the national level.”
Although Batty was a state champion, he felt that there was more he could do to compete nationally. College would provide him with the path to improve and find the confidence to be successful on the national stage.
In order to be a successful runner at the national level, Batty had to have some outside help to unlock all the potential he had.
BYU men’s cross country coach Ed Eyestone has taken Batty under his wing to help guide and motivate him to be an even better competitor. Eyestone is a six-time MWC Coach of the Year, as well as a 10-time All-American and two-time Olympian and NCAA Cross Country champion.
“Miles ended up being one of the top runners in the NCAA last year and has run extremely well,” Eyestone said. “He has advanced at a quicker rate than most and I expect him to be in the top 10 maybe even top five in the country this year.”
To be that good, having a competitive edge is crucial. It is what drives most runners to work harder and try and beat the next person in front of them. The edge doesn’t just develop overnight.
“The competitive edge was always there but I think the training has a lot to do with it,” Batty said. “As soon as I got to BYU the team was so good that you had to be very good if you wanted be on the varsity team.”
Batty credits the team training he receives with the Cougars as the reason for his performance and what puts BYU ahead of many other programs. In 2009, the BYU men’s team reached a top ranking of No. 5 in the nation after winning its NCAA Mountain Region. The team finished with a No. 17 ranking for the season. The Cougars have won nine of the last 11 MWC Championships.
Eyestone believes specific training is not really anything that unique or special but it is about the entire team performing and working together. Everyone on the team has to be on board with what he is trying to teach in order to be successful.
“When one group believes in a system the whole becomes stronger than the individual,” Eyestone said. “We haven’t reinvented the wheel, we just put in a lot of hard work.”
For training, Batty says he typically runs about 70 to 80 miles each week. He usually goes for a long run, about 10 miles, either in the morning or evening depending on his schedule. During the part of the day in which he isn’t doing that, he will go on a supplemental run of about four miles.
Two days of the week the team will participate in training together which will consist of a variety of mile repeats, tempo runs and other workouts. The other days are when Batty will go for his 10 and four-mile runs to “recover.”
“People say its funny to run 10 miles to recover from your workout the previous day,” Batty said. “But then on Saturdays when were not racing we will run about 15 anyways.”
As an example of his competitiveness, at last year’s MWC Championships Batty came up just short of winning the men’s 8K race after running side by side for most of the race. Batty collapsed at the finish line after both sprinted the last few hundred meters, one second behind Kenyan-born, Jacob Kirwa of New Mexico. Kirwa went on to win the MWC Athlete of the Year award.
“I’m always wanting to push myself to the next level,” Batty said. “I always look at who’s ahead of me or times that are faster and just go for it.”
While he lost that race, he was able to win many of the races throughout the season, as well as compete at
“I always try to be happy with what I’ve done but I’m never satisfied,” Batty said. “I always want to be faster, each year I want to do better and each season I want to place higher.”
Looking forward to this season, Batty is happy to be in great shape going into another year. The 2009 season brought many physical challenges for Batty who had returned from a mission to Brazil the year before.
With just a short time to get back into shape, Batty endured a lot of frustration to return to his old running form.
“It was a huge challenge,” Batty said. “I was used to being at a top level when I left to not being able to keep up with the slowest person on the team and that was really frustrating.”
Although he was a little bit rusty, Batty was able to quickly return to the ideal shape he wanted to be in for the season. That required him to drop a few newly acquired pounds from two years without running competitively.
“I gained about 30 pounds on my mission,” Batty said. “When you are running you want to be as lean as possible since you don’t want to carry around any dead weight so that was a big issue.”
Without knowing that he was going to be a leader on a nationally ranked team, Batty might not have been able to adjust quite so fast.
“I just had to stay dedicated even though I was frustrated,” Batty said. “I had to make myself as fast as I could as soon as possible.”
Batty was a consistent top finisher who contributed to several team wins for the Cougars.
Looking ahead to the 2010 cross country season and beyond, Batty has a few ideas on hand of what he would like to accomplish.
“My last year will be the summer of the Olympic trials so I will see if I can pick up a sponsorship right out of college,” Batty said.
In 2009, Batty wanted to survive his first year back competing and just be good. After an outstanding season surpassing many expectations, Batty now looks to be great.