Despite battles with asthma, Roland-Story's Nathan Limas is one of Iowa's top runners

Joe Randleman
Ames Tribune

Nathan Limas refuses to back down from the pain.

The Roland-Story senior cross country runner has battled exercise-induced asthma throughout high school. It is not the ideal condition to be dealing with when running long distances.

"It's been pretty bad," Limas said. "I'll be running and then all of the sudden I won't be able to breathe and have to stop and recuperate."

Yet Limas qualified for state as a junior. Not only that, he placed 25th in Class 2A.

"It's pretty surprising," Limas' teammate Jay Sanderson said. "A lot of asthma runners don't make it this far, much less go as fast as he does. I don't know how he does it, to be honest."

Coughing, wheezing and shortness of breath have made life miserable at times for Limas. But he won't the discomfort deter him from doing what he loves on the cross country course.

Roland-Story's Nathan Limas has battled asthma throughout high school, but it hasn't prevented him from becoming one of the top cross country runners in Class 2A. Limas entered Monday's Mike Carr Invitational in Huxley ranked 21st in 2A.

"Running makes me a better person," Limas said. "If I can finish a 5k with asthma and push myself, even in times that are extremely painful, then I can accomplish anything."

By the end of his sophomore year Limas knew he had a chance to have a successful running career at Roland-Story. He finished the state qualifying meet in Dike fourth on the team with a 5-kilometer time of 18 minutes, 18 seconds.

He gradually got better during his junior season. Limas broke 18 minutes at the Gilbert Invite (17:48) again at state (17:52).

More:Key takeaways from Roland-Story cross country meets: Girls win at Belmond, take third at Gilbert

Roland-Story opened 2021 at Webster City Aug. 31. Limas bested his previous fastest time at 17:39. 

He slipped to 18:27 at Belmond-Klemme, but still placed third. That race was a wakeup call.

"My asthma kicked in at the two-mile mark and I ended up a minute slower than the first meet," Limas said. "After that I said forget about the obstacles and just push through it."

Limas took 15th at the Gilbert Invitational last Thursday on the fast Iowa State course with a PR of 16:48. Monday he ran at the Mike Carr Invitational in Huxley, finishing eighth in 17:35.

"He's definitely an extra-distance type of guy," Sanderson said. "Every workout we do he's always doing extra miles. He ran a lot of the summer and he's running miles around all of us right now because of how much work he's put in."

Sanderson is blown away with how far Limas has come so quickly.

"Freshman year he was JV, struggling a little bit, and he's had a couple of injuries," Sanderson said. "He's bounced back very well. He's running crazy."

More:Why preseason injuries aren't slowing down Gilbert's Wadsley, Roland-Story's Kilstofte

Even though he ran well at state last year, Limas said he felt his peak was earlier in the season. He's determined not to let that happen again this fall.

"I just ran all summer," Limas said. "I taught myself how to power through a race and if I don't do as well, to learn something from it."

Limas, ranked 21st individually in 2A, plans on steadily progressing throughout his final season in a Norsemen uniform to get back to Fort Dodge.

"Going to state is such a treat, especially if you work hard during the season," Limas said. "Knowing that, I told myself I just need to train harder and be at my best."

But he also wants to enjoy the journey.

"I'm trying to do what I did last year and just have fun with every race," Limas said. "If you don't have fun you're probably not going to do very good."

Once at Fort Dodge he doesn't plan on settling for another top-25 performance.

"I just want to be able to get top-10 at state," Limas said. "Last year getting 25th was great, but I know I can do better than that."

More:Roland-Story girls eye top-10 finish at state cross country; boys team wants return trip to Fort Dodge

Gilbert boys finish seventh at Huxley

The Gilbert boys' cross country team took seventh out of 12 teams in Class A at the Mike Carr Invitational. The Tigers scored 161 points even without the service of lead runner William Wadsley.

Tad Hatfield and Zane Mueller both placed in the top 20 for the Gilbert boys. Hatfield took 16th in 18:04 and Mueller 18th in 18:24.8.