WARREN, Ohio (WKBN) – Nate James has a runner’s mentality.

“You just have to think that pain is temporary,” says Warren Harding senior Nate James. “It’s pretty much you versus yourself. So it’s all mental.”

James is one of the best distance runners ever at Warren Harding, with class records in three track events and the fastest cross country time in program history. Even in competition, there are times when it’s just him and the four-wheeler leading the pack.

His motivation is simple.

“The guy in front of you,” says James. “Just trying to stick to your times, and don’t get passed.”

James is also a two-time captain on the soccer team, and is just as competitive in the classroom. He ranks among the best in his senior class with a 4.3 grade point average.

“It’s very important because I’ve been looking at physical therapy, which is a very competitive field,” says James. “You have to really know what you’re talking about. So you can’t just do it halfway and get a ‘B’ and pass. You have to really know what you’re talking about to get accepted into those fields and to excel.”

This weekend James has a chance to become the first runner in school history to qualify for Regionals in cross country.

“I’m always striving to get that next thing. You always want a PR,” says James. “When you’re in the record books, seeing your name there and seeing your time progressively get faster, it’s just a good feeling. And just you want to get there.”