Haley Hughes

Former DAR runner Haley Hughes is a freshman on the Auburn-Montgomery cross country team. She runs 6 days a week and is up to about 45 miles a week. Monday is her rest day.

She ran track for 6 years and cross country for 3 while she was a student at DAR High School. Now Haley Hughes is running on the cross country team at Auburn University-Montgomery on scholarship.

She's enjoying her college career very much. She typically runs the 3.1 mile cross country course in about 21 minutes. 

If you were around Grant or the DAR campus over the holidays, you probably saw Haley running. She kept up with her training regimen during her break. She returns to school January 13. 

She runs about 6 miles a day. 

"I'm in 2 a days right now," she said late last week. She was running 6 miles in the morning followed by a light 25 minutes of running in the afternoon. She's up to 45 miles a week. 

Cross country running is a distance game and that's always been Haley's strong point. Even her track events in high school were distance. She ran the 3200 meter (2-mile), the 1600 meter (1-mile), the 800 and the 4x800.

DAR Coach Matthew Keller helped her get the scholarship to AUM. 

"He reached out to a lot of coaches and Auburn-Montgomery offered," Haley said. 

At first, she didn't think it would be the school for her. But she visited and fell in love with the place. 

Haley's "vice," if you want to call it that, is a love of coffee. Her apartment at AUM is surrounded by coffee shops and she loves it. 

"It's weird coming home now," she said. "I have to go off the mountain to go to a coffee shop."

She said the college cross country season didn't include as many meets as the high school schedule. They ran in 6. She wishes they ran more.

Her favorite was in Charlotte, North Carolina. But 6 meets can limit your chances to run.

"My roommate was injured," Haley said. "By the time she got over it, she only got to run in 2 meets."

It was freezing cold the day we caught up with Haley, but still she ran in shorts. The temperature was 46 degrees but the wind was gusting at over 22 miles per hour, putting the wind chill in the upper 30s. 

Haley almost always runs in shorts, as she feels leggings impede her running motion. 

"I have a gym membership and run indoors when it gets really cold," she said. "DAR is one of the windiest places around."

The school sits on the bluff of the mountain and the wind was really whipping. She has a route around the campus, one through town and she sometimes runs at Cathedral Caverns State Park. 

AUM really doesn't have a track team, Haley said, but the cross country team will compete in 2 or 3 track meets this spring. She's looking forward to that. 

Haley is 18. She is the daughter of Danny and Chasity Carr of Grant. 

She didn't get off her training diet much during Christmas.

"I didn't eat a lot of sweets," she said. "My mom didn't make them. I had a piece of pie and some Christmas candy."

She did indulge her love of coffee over the holidays. Other than running, coffee is her hobby.

"I got an espresso machine," she said. "I've been experimenting with all kinds of flavors and syrups."

She runs enough, and weighs in at a svelte 120, that a little Christmas candy and some espresso is not likely to slow her down much. 

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