Although photography currently means the world to Diamond Bar High School teacher Bill Foley, he had a vastly different interest as a teenager: running.
Despite being fascinated with running since first grade, Foley didn’t become involved competitively until his middle school gym teacher made him and his friends run 15 laps around the gym as a punishment. His teacher noticed how well Foley was running compared to the other students and advised him to try out for his school’s cross country team.
“That changed my life because I had success immediately and it was the first time in my life I felt confident in something. My whole experience was like a dream,” Foley said.
The athlete continued to run track and cross country throughout his middle school and high school years in Indiana.
Foley eventually served as the captain of both sports his senior year and set multiple school records, including the 880-yard run, one-mile run, and two-mile run in 1973 at New Albany High School in Indiana.
In addition, being a part of his many running teams created fond memories for Foley, such as his four by 400 meter relay in the sectional championships in Indiana during his junior year of high school. In order to win the sectionals, Foley’s team had to win the relay. He served as the anchor and was able to bypass the two runners in the lead at the last second, causing his team to win the sectionals.
“I remember the athletic director picked me up and carried me around the football field, congratulating me and my team. It was a team effort and my teammates all ran very well, but I just happened to be the person that was last,” Foley said.
After high school, Foley attended Indiana University where he ran track and cross country with a scholarship and traveled to various universities to compete.
“That was the beginning of me moving away from home, I had not done much before that and [traveling] just opened up a whole new world for me.” Foley said.
However during his college career, Foley suffered injuries to his legs and knees due to his persistent running. Although it hindered him physically, he claims it affected him more mentally and emotionally because he was “addicted” to the continuous aerobic exercise, and taking a break from the running was difficult.
After graduating from Indiana University, he attended Louisiana Tech University to earn a master’s degree. During that time, he served as the assistant coach for track at the school for two years.
“[Running] gave me more confidence in myself, that I could do something well. It exposed me to so many different cultures and styles of life. It made me see that there was a whole new world out there that I wanted to be a part of,” Foley said.
Although Foley isn’t able to participate in running anymore due to the injuries from his running career, he enjoys taking pictures of athletic events such as the track and cross country competitions.
“I get excited like I used to back in those days when I was a runner. It makes me feel good to see people participating in and enjoying my favorite sport. Running isn’t for everyone, but I think it’s great for those who love it as it’s a good way to get rid of frustrations.” Foley said.