HOUSTON - Running is something you either love or hate. Rice senior Becky Wade falls in that first category every time she steps on a track.
"I’m at home," says Wade
The sport is about to do more for her than she could have ever dreamed.
"It will be a bigger learning experience than I have ever had before," says Wade.
Earlier this year, Wade became one of 39 students in the country to be awarded a Watson Fellowship which allows college graduates to travel the world for an entire year in order to understand a topic of their choice in various international settings.
For this 4.0 GPA attaining, triple major; the subject of study was never a question.
"Running is something that I am passionate about in and it’s something that I want to keep doing for a while recreationally for the rest of my life so I just thought it would be awesome to see how running fits into other people’s cultures and into other people’s lives," says Wade.
Her journey will start at 2012 Summer Olympic games in London, which she says will serve as a base for her studies. From there, she’ll visit what is largely considered the distance running capitol of the world in Ethiopia.
"Long distance runners are so respected there," says Wade. "It’s a means of getting out of poverty for some people."
Then, Wade jets off to Tokyo, Japan to watch and take part in the annual Ekiden relays, one of the biggest running spectacles in the world. She will conclude her travels in Aukland, New Zealand and Turku, Finland before coming back home for the first time in 365 days.
"It’s a little scary," says Wade. "I’ve only been out of North America for only 10 days and I’m pretty bad with directions, but I need an experience like this to improve."
She’s already made contacts in each of her five stops and hopes to publish her findings once she returns home. But for Becky, the trip also serves as model of what it takes to make it to her ultimate goal.
"I want to move up to the marathon and I have dreams of making it to the Olympics someday," says Wade.
"You can never count this lady out," says Rice women’s track head coach Jim Beven. "I can see her with a USA on her uniform."
An opportunity to really show the world, what the world will have taught her.