Romanian native junior Lajos Farkas joined the men’s cross-country team in the fall of 2011 through an unexpected set of circumstances. According to Coach Steve Guymon, Henderson State University recruited Farkas, but the university soon dropped the men’s cross-country program altogether. Still looking for a place to run cross-country, Farkas enrolled at Harding instead and joined the team. Though he was an unexpected addition, he ended up becoming a strong leader and the fastest runner on the team.
Senior Andrew Evans ran with Farkas for three years. According to Evans, Farkas had outrun the competition since his first season. Evans accredited this success to Farkas’ hard work in practice, adding that he also pushed the rest of the team to work harder every day, which strengthened the team overall.
“This year we’re starting to have some other guys close the gap with him,” Evans said. “He kind of set the bar for us, and now that we’re able to run with him that’s just making the team better. It’s making us more competitive.”
Guymon said Farkas was a very consistent runner. During his first three years of running, Farkas finished first or second in all of his races.
“You can always count on a good race from him,” Guymon said.
According to Guymon, Farkas set high goals and expectations for himself, such as making the Regional and All-American teams. Guymon added that Farkas was in great shape and that his goals were within reach.
Farkas was a leader on the team, but he was a quiet leader, according to Guymon. Often leading by example, he used few words and chose them carefully, so that whatever he did say had a powerful effect on his teammates. Farkas was supportive of his teammates and pushed them to do better. If a younger member of the team was struggling, Farkas would always be there to help them out.
Not only was Farkas a good runner, he was also a good person according to Guymon. Guymon said Farkas was intelligent and polite. He was very coachable and Guymon said he would not have minded having a few more like him on the team.
“As a person, he’s just a great guy, and that to me is more important than how he succeeds in his running, and when he does succeed that makes it more worthwhile to me,” Guymon said. “I’ve got other girls and guys on my team that [when] they succeed, and when you know what kind of person they are, that is just so fulfilling as a coach to watch them. They deserve it so much.”
Farkas said dedication and sacrifice were two things that made him a better runner. He liked the challenge of running and doing well in races. Reaching his running goals kept him motivated to continue his running career.
Farkas said his teammates were good at motivating him by saying things as simple as “good job” or “you ran well” after a race that may not have actually been good which is something he did not get in Romania.
“[My teammates] are hard workers,” Farkas said. “Here [there] is a bigger team spirit than we had back home.”
That team spirit combined with Farkas’s passion for running spurred him to pursue running at a professional level after graduating.