Running’s been part of Zach Winnicki’s life for years.

“Running has been such a good escape for me,” Winnicki said.

the senior at Lancaster finds peace on the track With each passing mile.

“Running is more mentally tiring but it’s also mentally freeing”

And that mental clarity helps him with life on and off the track. Winnicki ranks 14th in his class out of 412 students with a 4.0 GPA and just set the school record in the 3200 meters in January.

“Going for a run has changed my perspective on a lot of things in my life,” Winnicki said.

Winnicki has plans to go into the medical field when he graduates. The interest came from watching his sister Anna. She was born with down syndrome, and seeing other doctors help his sibling inspired him.

“A lot of my younger years were spent going from appointment to appointment, a lot of us have been in Strong Hospital in Rochester just going through various surgeries, various appointments just helping her be the best person that she can be and it really just instilled in me how important it is to help others and I want to do the same for other people like they did for my sister,” he said.

And maybe someday he can be the one helping people like they helped his sister.

“I just remember sitting in the hospital and thinking to myself I want to do that for people. I want to be the one to instill change in peoples lives,” he said.

But for now he’ll continue pounding the pavement. Going one step at a time to reach his goals. He knows success down the road comes from more than just what’s on the road right now.

“You are not going to get in college on what’s on your feet, it’s about what’s in between your ears.”