Painted on a canvas in the Borsheim home in Tacoma is a quote from NFL football legend Jerry Rice: “Today I will do what others won’t so tomorrow I can do what others can’t.”
Perhaps this explains why Ella and Ava Borsheim enjoy doing things such as running in the rain and challenging hikes in the mountains.
“The dirtier and the wetter it is, the better it is for us,” Ava said.
Ella and Ava are 11 and 9, respectively, and already enjoy the benefits that come from doing hard things. This weekend they are in New Mexico competing in the Junior Olympics cross-country running national championships.
The sisters are members of the Federal Way Track Club. They also play soccer. This is their second year at nationals. Last season in South Carolina, Ella finished 15th in her 3,000-meter race while Ava was 18th in her race.
Cross-country runs in their family. The girls’ father, Tim Borsheim, was a talented runner at Everett’s Cascade High before going to Pacific Lutheran University. In 1990 he ran a 3-minute, 57.04-second 1,500 meter, a time that still ranks him as the 10th fastest in that event in PLU history.
The sisters have finished in the top three at each of their meets this season. Ella watches Ava’s race before she runs. In every meet this season, Ella has matched Ava’s place.
“Ava says that she inspires me to do well,” Ella said.
“They really encourage each other,” said Kelley Borsheim, the girls’ mom. “When one does well, the other wants to do well.”
Busy with soccer, running and school, the girls recently slowed down long enough for us to ask a few questions. Ella provided the answers:
Q: How did you get into running?
A: A couple years ago there was the Lowell Running Club at our elementary school and we started jogging for the half hour before school. And then, last year, my dad found out about the Federal Way Track Club and we went to one of the practices and had a lot of fun.
Q: How do you squeeze in running practice with soccer practice?
A: They conflict a lot. My dad was a runner in high school and college, and he knows a lot about running. So sometimes we go out and do a workout with him. I mean, he can’t run anymore. He has bad knees, so he’s on the bike.
Q: What do you love most about running?
A: I enjoy competing.
Q: Do you like courses that are flat or hilly?
A: I like both. But I think hills are an advantage because we do many hill workouts.
Q: Which sport is your favorite?
A: People ask me if I had to choose between running and soccer, what would I choose? I really can’t say. I love both of them.
Q: What have you learned about yourself?
A: I learned how to push myself and be tough through running. My dad and my coach taught me how to push myself. Even if I’m not feeling well I can push myself and keep going.
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