Michaela Mannova: Pushing for the Limit

Senior distance runner Michaela Mannova pushes for the limit especially as a top runner on the BYU women's track and cross country teams.

Three years ago distance runner Michaela Mannova joined the Cougar cross country and track teams after competing for a year at University of New Orleans.

Mannova came to BYU first for the team, but also for the climate: having four seasons, a high altitude, extensive mountains and especially the cold weather.

"Little did I know what BYU would hold for me," Mannova said. "I knew that things would be good and that I wouldn't be a horrible runner because I was coming on a scholarship, but I never expected to be one of the top runners on the team."

Mannova a three-time All-American in cross country and five time track All-American has quite surpassed her expectations after consistently performing at the top of the Mountain West Conference and the nation.

"Really to me it's not a big difference to be the fastest on the team, or the second fastest, or third." Mannova said. "I don't feel any different."

For Mannova she simply just loves to run.

"I really don't care about all the honors that I am given," she said. "I just love to run and I do it for that reason."

As Mannova heads through her senior year with only two outdoor seasons left, she says her life is so much more than just running.

"After I am done at BYU I want to go back to my country and go to vet school," Mannova said. "Yeah I will compete in Europe but I seriously could be here at BYU or in school somewhere for 80 years because I have so much I want to learn and I have so much fun in school."

In essence Mannova wants to take advantage of every possible thing in life.

"Really for me I am so much more than just running," she said. "I love to be active all the time; actively learning and physically active. I love to bike, hike, ice skate, etc."

As a child growing up in the Czech Republic Mannova was involved in every sport.

"In school we had the opportunity to try everything," Mannova said. "We learned to play ball games, ski, swim, ice skate, everything. We would go on trips for a week to learn the different sports."

In addition to physical education instruction, Mannova also played for her class on just about every intramural team possible.

"You know I never competed for any team but my own class against other classes," she said. "All in all, the biggest difference between me and the rest of my BYU team is that I really really love to do other sports."

Mannova says this difference comes because of the extensive exposure she obtained for all sports in school.

"I don't like to take time off from exercising ever," Mannova said. "And so I never do."

This active lifestyle could come from her parents who Mannova describes as active individuals.

"My parents really are active," she said, "but they are so much more active academically."

Her mother is a doctor who specializes in diabetes and her father is an economic specialist.

"My parents have always encouraged me to be strong academically," Mannova said. "I try to do this by doing well in my classes and by learning new languages."

In high school Mannova began this quest by adding English, French and Latin to her Czech and extended that depth even further in college by learning German and currently as she works on learning Spanish.

"I am just trying to improve myself," Mannova said. "I have long wanted to learn Spanish but never had the time. I plan on doing an internship in the fall in South America and so now I need to learn the language and so I am."

Mannova truly is at the top of her class in athletics and academics. She loves to improve and has made that her life long goal; a goal that so far has carried her to the top nationally in both cross country and track.

"I have tried to take my approach to running in all aspects of life," she said, "I love to run and I like to do movement. So when I improve that drives me to run faster and find out where my limit is. In life really I am just trying to find my limit in all aspects."

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