By Laurie Gordon
Sussex County Sports Hall of famer, Justin Scheid, is one of the greatest runners to come out out of the county. After a stellar running career at Pope John, the Sparta native went on to run for Georgetown University and continues to tear it up on the local road racing scene.
“Running isn't like other sports,” he said. “You don't need a field or a court or a team, all you need is yourself and a pair of running shoes. And you don't even need those if you're running on the beach. It's a lifelong sport.”
One aspect of the sport that Scheid thrives on is giving back by talking to young runners which he did at the X-Treme Running Camp on Friday.
“Its great to look out at the audience and remember when I was at a running camp and to be able to give them some advice,” Scheid said. “Work hard this week and try to learn as much from the speakers and coaches as you can.”
Scheid traced his running history back to running around his neighborhood with his father, Larry, and brother, Jeremy. “My dad would run with us and we played soccer and baseball, but after school we would run around our development,” he said.
In fifth grade, Scheid joined the track team at Reverend George A. Brown Memorial School in Sparta, which his mother coached.
"My mom never ran that much but did it entirely because she knew it was something I wanted to do and there was not a way to do without her," Scheid said. “There was no track team until she stepped up to coach.
Scheid's first racing memories were at Brundage Park, in Randolph, where there were age group races on Sundays.
“About 200 meters into the race, you went from a field that funneled into a narrow trail. I was always at the back because I didn't go out hard enough,” he said.
That is until one day when he went out like a gazelle and came in second.
“I went out hard that day. I wanted to put myself in the game and just cared about putting myself in it and not necessarily the end result.”
Scheid ran right through middle school, high school and into college and was a stand-out runner at Pope John and Georgetown University. He said his college decision came down to a choice between Villanova and Georgetown, and that it was a tough choice. Scheid is big on goal setting. “It's important to nut just go through the same routine but set goals and re-asses them,” he said. “If you have a bad race, don't dwell on it for too long. Look at what you did, learn from it and move forward.”
Scheid's personal best times are: for the mile 4:05, 3,200 meter 8:55, 5K (3.1 miles) 14:05, Half Marathon (13.1 miles) 1:07:31 and Marathon (26.2 miles) 2:27:47.
Scheid credits his parents with an amazing amount of support. “If my parents couldn't be at a race, they'd call on the phone as soon as it was over. They made every race during high school and just about all of them during college, and if not they would call on the phone as soon as it was over," Scheid said.
Scheid was inducted into the Sussex County Sports Hall of Fame in November of 2014. The Sussex County Sports Hall of Fame was founded in 1976 based on the efforts of Joe Bigg fto honor County athletes, coaches and benefactors who had distinguished themselves through outstanding, extraordinary and exceptional performance in their chosen sport.
"Enjoy the sport, work hard and always set goals,” Scheid said to the campers. “Also don't be so concerned about time. A lot of cross country races, you're going for place, so race that way. Above all, never stop having fun with the sport.”