Born in Buffalo, N.Y., Sage Hurta is a star in the making. An indoor NCAA mile champion, her promise is clear. Yet her path to success has not always been straightforward. “Setbacks are natural,” she says, “but growing from them is my greatest strength.”
Sage – why running, and how did you get started? My parents both ran when I was growing up. I’d beg them to let me race too. Watching track was boring, but I loved running, biking, and swimming from a very young age.
When you don’t feel like training, what inspires you to get out there? Achieving big goals requires hard work – even when you’re not motivated. When training is hard or burdensome, I rely on my friends and teammates to keep me accountable. When they’re not around, I try to remember that getting out of the door is the hardest part.
Can you tell us about a moment that taught you a valuable lesson? In my junior year of cross country at college, I did very poorly at the PAC-12 meet. So poorly, in fact, that I’ve never actually looked to see what place I got! I was distressed that our team lost largely due to my poor performance. But by using Pema Chodron’s Fail, Fail Again, Fail Better as my guidebook, I learned how to live with those feelings of disappointment and use them for personal betterment. Three weeks later, I raced to my highest ever NCAA cross country finish and helped our team win a national title.
Do you have a special pre-race ritual? Drink some coffee, eat a snack, and find a calm yet fierce mental state.
Is nutrition a big focus? What’s your go-to meal after a tough run? It’s important to me, but I do better when I eat intuitively and without expectations. Overall, I make sure I’m eating lots of fruits and veggies – and getting enough protein. In the morning, any tough run is followed by a breakfast burrito and a coffee. Later in the day, I need something like a burger.
What are your top tips for a speedy recovery after training? Fuel well and prioritize sleep. Sleep is probably number one.
Who is your ‘team’? I owe a lot of my success to my teammates and friends, as well as my coaches who push and believe in me. Day-to-day, I rely on my parents, boyfriend and my two dogs Tucker and Minnie to keep me grounded.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve received? Have a short-term memory. If you want to keep progressing, it’s best not to dwell on the good days or the bad days.
Apart from running, what are your passions? I’m an avid – but sporadic – reader and baker. And as an engineering graduate, I’m a bit of a science enthusiast. I’m particularly interested in sports science and medicine.
What’s your favorite On gear? The new Cloudstratus is great. It’s everything you need in a training shoe: plenty of cushion without feeling slow or heavy. The Performance-T is also a favorite. It’s super lightweight and comfortable. And it looks nice, too.
Finally, why On? On has a clear commitment to follow innovation and push the envelope in elite athletics. It’s got the tools and dedication to support me in the next phase of my running career.