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Consistent Excellence: Nate ‘PR’ Erickson’s Year-Long Streak of Personal Bests

Tyrone distance runner Nate Erickson doesn’t make headlines by finishing first, but his steady progress has made him an inspiration to his teammates.
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Logan Rumberger
Nate “PR” Erickson on his way to another personal best time at Bald Eagle Area this spring.

One of the great things about track and field is even if you don’t come in first place, you can still reach a personal goal at any competition by beating your best time.

Track athletes call it a personal record, or “PR” for short.

Win or lose, every athlete hopes to PR every time they approach the starting line.

Tyrone sophomore Nate Erickson knows all about PRs.

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Nate’s achievement in track PRs is inspiring and says a lot about the value of hard work and goal-setting. That’s why we nicknamed him PR, because that’s all he ever did, every time he ran, for over a year

— Tyrone Assistant Track Coach Steve Everhart

In fact, he’s done it so many times that it’s become his nickname.

“PR” Erickson isn’t the fastest runner on the team, but he has become almost legendary for his ability to consistently improve meet after meet.

Since he started running track last season as a freshman, Erickson set a personal record in at least one event in every track meet he competed in for over a year.

His events are the mile, two-mile, and sometimes the 800.

“I think it’s pretty cool, I don’t think many people have a streak that long,” Erickson said.

Erickson says he enjoys being on the track team because he gets to hang out with his friends and loves to see improvement in his times at the meets.

When asked if he’s nervous about keeping his streak alive, Erikson said “I’m always a little nervous when I start, but I know I’ll do good.”

Last year he started with an 8-minute mile time. Since then he has dropped his best time by an amazing two and a half minutes.

Erickson’s commitment and consistent improvement have impressed long-time Tyrone assistant track coach Steve Everhart.

“Nate’s achievement in track PRs is inspiring and says a lot about the value of hard work and goal-setting. That’s why we nicknamed him PR, because that’s all he ever did, every time he ran, for over a year,” Everhart said.

According to Everhart, when Erickson first joined the team he could barely finish a mile, clocking in at just under 10 minutes, which is a walking pace for some people.

Fast forward to this season and his mile PR is currently at 5.39 and his two-mile PR is 12.20.

“It is extraordinary, to say the least, to never see a regression,” Everhart said.

Nate will be one of my most memorable athletes as a coach just from his sheer persistence. Long-term success is not just about enjoying your accomplishments but persisting through the low points.

— Steve Everhart

At the pace of improvement he has set, Erickson should shatter the current world record mile time of 3:43 with a 2:49.5 mark by the end of this September.

Of course, everyone, including Erickson, knows that isn’t going to happen.

“Nate is smart enough to know that his PRs will come irregularly moving forward,” Everhart said. “He’s already seeing plateaus and regressions over the last week or two. And this is natural, even with his persistent training and commitment. Nate has totally reshaped his body and increased his athleticism and flexibility. His form is nonrecognizable from last season.”

Erickson’s long-term goals are to run the mile under 5.30 and get under 12 minutes in the 2-mile.

Erickson said he loves track and would like to continue running competitively after high school.

He hopes to find a college that will give him a shot to keep PRing.

“Nate will be one of my most memorable athletes as a coach just from his sheer persistence. Long-term success is not just about enjoying your accomplishments but persisting through the low points. By the time Nate graduates, who know how low he can go? But I know he will always give a hundred percent. He knows no other way. And I love that about him,” Everhart said.

As for the streak, Erickson said “I’m not sure how long it will last, but I’ll just keep going and see what I can do.”

This story was originally published on Tyrone Eagle Eye News on April 18, 2024.