“I was able to witness people changing their lives,” Clayton Young said, “but the changes that happen personally on a mission are priceless.”
For national champion distance runner Clayton Young, serving a Spanish-speaking mission in eastern North Carolina presented the young elder/athlete with a dietary yin-yang.
Yes, diving into a plate of Carolina barbecue with a side stack of Mexican tortillas was a not-so-guilty pleasure for a foodie like Young.
But he admits that’s not exactly the optimal meal for an elite college harrier.
When he completed his mission in 2014 and began training with the BYU men’s cross-country team, coaches and teammates good-naturedly relegated him to the team’s “fat camp” — the mythical squad for well-fed returned missionaries.
“When you’re with a bunch of guys, it’s kind of an endearing name,” he said, laughing.
But Young traded fat camp for fast camp a long time ago.
The BYU senior claimed the men’s 10,000-meter title at the recent 2019 NCAA Outdoor Championships in Austin, Texas.