In November last year, Aaron Brumbaugh gave the fight of his life.
The Mark Morris senior was running a 5K at Sun Willows Golf Course in Pasco in the state cross country championships. His arch running rival for the past four years, Scott Kopczynski, from East Valley High School in Spokane had a 150-meter lead most of the three-mile race.
Aaron was in third place and could see Scott ahead of him.
“I was completely falling apart,” Aaron said. “It’s probably the toughest race I’ve run.”
Aaron cinched the gap and landed in second place.
“A pessimistic view would be that misery loves company,” he said of running. “Beyond that, the amount of effort, the mental toughness that goes into these races, you recognize what it takes.”
Aaron said he loves running both because it nurtures a sense of family — even in competition — and because success depends on an individual runner’s ability.
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“When you run a race, there are very few things that can make excuses,” he said. “There are very few factors other than your personal accountability.”
Even without his cross-country rival, Aaron still loves to push himself to the limits on and off the pavement.
“It’s really easy to be content with what you know and not push yourself to learn something new,” he said. “That drive to run faster, learn about something new, it’s carried over into other aspects of my life.”
Among his other interests, piano, choir and literature top the list. He admits that sometimes drives his teachers crazy.
“It’s a complete balance,” he said. “I’ve always like to sing and play piano, and I’ve always liked to run. I couldn’t tell anyone which I love more.”
Aaron has an obvious passion for music, choir director Brian Mitchell said.
“He throws his soul out onto the stage, lays himself bare every time he performs,” Mitchell wrote. “He is passionate, emotional, expressive, and touches the people around him every time he performs.”
Mitchell wrote that Aaron’s polymath nature only makes him a great role model.
“Our world would be a much better place if more people were like him,” Mitchell said by email. “A true Renaissance person, he embodies a well-rounded person. … Scholar, athlete, artist, he is a shining example why I still have hope for the future.”
Contact Daily News reporter Lauren Kronebusch at 360-577-2532 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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