Where are they now: Hilton Head alumnus David Adams

Hilton Head alumnus David Adams (state record holder, 14:37) looks back at running in high school and college, along with life now.

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Personal Bests:


High School

400m - 51.6

800m - 1:53.8

1600m - 4:14

3200m - 8:57

5K XC - 14:37



8K XC - 24.56

10K XC - 32:00


What was the biggest adjustment you had to make to compete at the college level? 


The biggest adjustment I had to make transitioning to college was the increase in weekly milage and running with a much more competitive team everyday. I began 2 a days my junior year of high school with weekly totals of around 50 miles (one day off).  The jump to college, for me, was 70-90 per week. I regret not getting enough base milage during summer breaks and because of that, the milage increase was rough. Another difficult adjustment was time management between practice, classes and social time.


How would you rate your college running career and overall college experience?


My college experience as a whole was great. I really enjoyed living with all my teammates and being around all of the other athletes. I only ran up to expectations my freshman year, 24:56 (8K). I battled injury my whole sophomore year with achilles tendonitis in both legs. I had a tough time getting back to where i once was after that much time off. I also felt like I had become burnt out and I lost some of the drive that I once had. I was able to run fairly decent my junior year outdoors in the 3000 steeplechase. I learned a lot and I am a better person today because of my experiences.


Is there anything you can tell high school athletes to better prepare them for the college experience? 


Get a good mileage base each summer. Hit the gym! I cannot say enough about a weight routine.  During my time in high school i saw the most results from getting stronger in the weight room.  I was not as focused in the weight room in college and it showed.


Do you plan to attend South Carolina for any outdoor meets this coming season?


I am planning on attending the Taco Bell Invitational and the State Championships.  I will also try to attend a local meet or two that HIlton Head High competes in.


Have you been back to see a meet recently?


I was at the Track & Field State Championships and the Cross Country State Championships last year. 


What memories from competing in high school stand out the most? What do you miss most about running in high school? 


The 3 memories that stand out the most for me are:


 1) Breaking the State Record in cross country (14:37) in 1999. Hearing 4:30 at the mile was kind of scary.

 2) Seeing "USA High School Leader" on the scoreboard after running 8:57 in the 3200m at Taco Bell in 2000. 

 3) Taking the entire field of runners the wrong way at the Georgia Southern Invite because I passed the guy     on the "pace bike".


The thing I miss most about running in high school is the relationships with my teammates. Spending time with some high school runners recently I have realized that nothing has changed. Distance runners are crazy. 


I also miss having something to be nervous about. Something that i never thought that i would say.



What piece of coaching or advice that someone gave you has been the biggest help?


Buy into your coach's philosophy and stick to it. They are the coach for a reason. 


"The 19th Rep" -Coach Mayo (When you have had enough... do one more)


"Running is the best kind of therapy." 


Do not over think this sport and try to find a way to make it fun. Distance running basically all about getting in the best shape possible, then trying to see who can deal with pain the longest. The talent level given to us by God is the final factor.


What are you doing in the present and hope to do in the future?


I have been married for almost three years and have a seventh month old baby boy.  I have been a Firefighter/ EMT in Bluffton for four years. After taking almost a full decade off from competing and pretty much from running all together I started running again last May.  I ran with the Hilton Head High team about once a week during the cross country season and plan to do the same this spring.  I have currently logged just over 600 miles in eight months. I also just joined the Palmetto Running Company Racing Team (Bluffton / Hilton Head area).


Future plans are to be a good father, husband and Firefighter.

I plan to continue running, spending time with the local high school runners and entering races. 


How was the adjustment from post-college?


My adjustment from college to the real world wasn't as smooth as it could have been or as smooth as i would have liked.  I had a lot of regrets from my college running days and wasted most of my early-20s working "food and beverage jobs" and living that lifestyle.  I am really happy today and excited to have running back in my life.  I am enjoying pushing myself again and trying to test my own limits.