Meet the Athletes: Mackenzie Arnold


Photo by: Christina Xan

Junior Mackenzie Arnold runs cross-country and takes advantage of the opportunities FMU offers, including studying abroad.

Catherine Hyman, Copy Editor

Mackenzie Arnold, a junior French and mass communication major, is not only a successful cross-country runner at FMU but balances a well-rounded life with interests in academics and personal hobbies.

Arnold said she has been running since she was a small child. Even as a baby, her parents would run with her in a stroller, so it has always been a part of her life.

Arnold said that she decided to run cross-country in college because she was not ready to give running up after high school. She said that although she is passionate about running, there are negatives as well.

“I don’t love running, because nobody really loves running,” Arnold said. “It’s a love-hate relationship because running is painful, but you get a runner’s high. So, you love it. I especially love how it feels when I finish.”

Arnold said that running requires dedication and discipline, just like any other sport at FMU. She said that she has to eat well, stay healthy and get up every morning before classes for workouts.

“Running is just straight pain, and in cross-country meets you just know you’re going to hurt,” Arnold said. “But it’s worth it. Running is healing. If anything happens, I know I can always go out and run for miles, and I’ll feel better.”

Arnold said that her teammates are her best friends, and those relationships make the work that goes into running worth it. She said that the teamwork skills she has gained in cross-country would also help her after graduation in pursuing her dreams.

Recently, Arnold finished in the top 10 at the Citadel Invitational cross-country meet.

“I was very happy,” Arnold said. “It’s always nice when you finish top 10. It makes it worth it in a way. Most of the time I run for myself but when you actually place and get a medal, it reinforces it.”

Arnold said that she struggles with anxiety and depression, and that her interests help her overcome them. She spent a semester in France and said that her time there was when her anxiety peaked.

However, Arnold said that it was also her time in France that gave her a sense of independence.

“I was literally alone over there,” Arnold said. “When I got back, I felt like I could do anything at that point because if I could live on my own in a foreign country, I can do anything.”

Arnold said she studied abroad because she believed that as a language major, the best way to truly learn the language was to immerse herself in it.

One of her favorite things about studying abroad were the lifelong friendships she made during her time there, Arnold said. She met one of her closest friends in France.

Arnold said that this friend, who was from Ghana, helped her realize how much she could have in common with people from all over the world with different cultural backgrounds. While in France, they traveled together, and they continue to talk every day.

Running helps her to manage her anxiety and depression, Arnold said. She also has a therapy pet—a bearded dragon named RiFF RaFF.

“She keeps me company,” Arnold said. “I don’t ever have to be alone, and she’s easy to take care of.”

Arnold is also interested in lifting weights, riding motorcycles and cross-stitching. She said that she enjoys cross-stitching because her grandmother taught her when she was a child. She is currently working on a cross-stitch of Cinderella’s castle and finds the activity calming.

Motorcycling is Arnold’s only form of transportation, and she said she loves having the wind in her face. “I don’t have any other way of getting around, so when the rain comes, you just ride through it,” Arnold said. “That’s the beauty of it.”

Currently, Arnold is moving forward with her dreams. She said that she recently declared a second major in mass communication because of her interest in writing.

In the future, Arnold would like to travel throughout the U.S. and other countries and write about her experiences. She would also like to use her writing skills to save animals.