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Calvin Runner Continues Family Running History

Sunday, June 02, 2013

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By Jeff Febus

With arms and legs churning furiously, Job Christiansen is a sight to watch on the cross country course. In short, the Calvin senior gives it his all.

“I’ve had coaches from around the country tell me, ‘Wow. I wish I had a team full of runners who gave that kind of effort,’” said Calvin head cross country coach Brian Diemer. “Job is the kind of guy who never gives less than his best, and his leadership to our team throughout his career has been incredible. He’s a quiet guy but when he talks in person or writes something to our team on e-mail, people pay attention.”

Christiansen’s running exploits this fall were also attention grabbing. A native of New Ipswich, N.H., Christiansen exploded as a runner during his senior year of cross country, finishing third at the MIAA championships, sixth at the Great Lakes Regional meet and 35th at the NCAA III Championships. For his efforts, Christiansen was named to the All-MIAA first team, Great Lakes All-Region team and gained All-America honors with his finish at the national meet. His performances helped Calvin win the MIAA and Great Lakes Regional team titles and place second at the NCAA III Championships.

Christiansen’s rise to prominence this fall was partly due in part to improved health as he spent the first three years of his running career at Calvin struggling with a myriad of leg injuries. In fact, Christiansen’s running career at Calvin almost never took place.

“I came into Calvin injured, and I thought about calling it a career,” said Christiansen. “I’ve struggled with injuries to my hamstrings, feet and this year to some degree, my calf muscles. It hasn’t always been easy but I’ve always trusted in God, knowing that whatever I do or whatever trials I face, I rest in his arms.”

When choosing a college out of high school, Calvin’s academic and athletic excellence as well as its Christian community appealed to him. “I looked at a number of schools in the Midwest but Calvin had everything I was looking for,” he said. “I think the thing that sealed it for me was the strong Christian community that I saw in the (distance) running program. There was so much positive energy, and I wanted to be a part of that.”

As a collegiate freshman, Christiansen finished 23rd at the MIAA cross country championships but was not in the top group of a veteran Calvin team. As a sophomore in 2010, he claimed All-MIAA second team honors, finishing 11th at the MIAA Championships. He took another step forward in 2011, finishing 10th at the MIAA Championships to earn a spot on the All-MIAA first team. He then earned a spot on Calvin’s national roster and finished 190th at the national meet. During the outdoor track and field season last spring, he began to make a move up, taking second at the MIAA Field Day in the 10,000 meters. “I gained some confidence in track last spring,” said Christiansen. “I had to fight through a few injuries, but my track season was definitely a stepping stone for me.”

Christiansen and the rest of his family learned their running skills from their father, Josh, who is an avid runner as well as a pastor in New Ipswich. Job’s older sister ran collegiately at Wheaton College while older brothers Jed and Jake both preceded him as running standouts at Calvin. “Our dad was the one who really got us into running,” said Christiansen. “He’s a very competitive runner, and I think that’s where I get my drive. I learned from him to always give it my best.”

Christiansen has also learned how to give his best in the classroom. A history major, he has been a regular member of the Calvin Dean’s List and MIAA Academic Honor Roll. He plans a career in research and writing with the hopes of becoming a college history professor. “God has blessed me with the ability to study and research history,” he said. “My professors at Calvin have really encouraged me and have been a great help to me. To have a career where I spent a lot of time in books is something that really appeals to me.”

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