Running in place

Track is a sport of endurance, strength, and tenacity and St. John’s cross country star Kristen Levy has displayed all three in competition and in dealing with a career beset with injuries.

Since May 2004, Levy has suffered from what doctors now say is periosteosis in her knee, which is a fibrous growth around the bone.

Levy underwent two bone scans, an X-Ray and an MRI before she was diagnosed with the affliction. She says that doctors have had trouble determining what her injury is.

“The doctors haven’t been helpful at all,” Levy said. “They still [weren’t] sure what it is [until recently]; they ruled out that it was a stress fracture.”

Levy says that despite her doctor’s visits her injury has not improved.

“It hasn’t gotten better,” she said. “I’ve just been running through it. I’ve dealt with minor injuries before but nothing this persistent.”

Levy was hit with yet another injury on Oct. 16 when she rolled her foot on the starting line at St. John’s cross country fall festival on the school’s Oakdale campus.

Levy was told she fractured her foot.

“I didn’t realize it was a fracture,” said Levy, a junior. “It’s really discouraging. Every time I get to where I want to be, something else happens.”

Fortunately, after receiving X-Ray and MRI results last Friday the possibility of a fracture in her foot was discarded.

This was a huge relief to her since another major injury could prevent Levy from running in the Big East Championship this Friday.

“We’re going to have to run hard because she is injured and we have Big East next week,” senior runner Jodey Johnson said.

Added senior Jasmine Barretto: “She’s one of our scoring runners, so it’s going to affect us.”

Levy says that her team and coach have been a reliable support system.

“We tell her to stay positive and she’ll get stronger as she goes through physical therapy,” freshman runner Rakibat Abiola said.

Added freshman runner Maggie Snyder: “We try to show her support and boost her morale.”

St. John’s cross country coach Jim Hurt is confident that Levy will remain resilient in overcoming her injuries.

“She’s managing it really well,” Hurt said. “She’s a great competitor. I just remind her that she’s done it before.”

Levy’s training regimen has changed due to her injuries.

“We try to limit the amount of hard surface she runs on,” Hurt said.

Hurt says sometimes Levy must choose between training with the team or going to rehab and doing cardio on the treadmill or bike.

“We try to change the surfaces we run on,” Hurt said.

The team often takes a break from running on asphalt and concrete, which hurt the feet, and run on turf and in parks instead.

At times Levy must run without her team.

“We miss her especially since it’s a small group,” Hurt said.

Changes in Levy’s training do not indicate a weakness that she must facilitate, but are simply means in overcoming the hurdles she must confront.

“She’s a great competitor,” Hurt said. “She can be tough, reach down and push herself.”