NEW PALESTINE — The sun was shining but the air was cold, bitter cold, the kind of cold that makes your lungs hurt after breathing in deeply.
It was only nine degrees when New Palestine’s Courtney and Caitlynn Edon took off for a quick six-mile run through their neighborhood in New Palestine. The two were home on winter break from college. But, there is no break from running.
The 19-year-old twin sisters were heading out for a light run, just a day after logging 12 miles on route to the over 60 miles they run every week to stay in shape.
The Edon sisters are no strangers to anyone who knows anything about running in Hancock County. For years the girls dominated cross country and track meets running for New Palestine High School.
Now the dynamic duo is making a name for themselves at the collegiate ranks. The sophomore sisters are running cross country in the fall, indoor track in the winter and outdoor track in the spring for Ball State University.
“They’ve made the transition from high school to college really well,” BSU running coach Ali Bishel said.
After high school, the girls were offered full ride scholarships to attend Marian University and BSU. While they say it would have been nice to go to a school close to home, they opted to take a bigger challenge and run at the division one level for the Cardinals.
“At Marian, I knew I had a good shot at being the top runner on the team, but I want to get faster so that’s why I wanted to go to Ball State because the competition is better,” Courtney said.
For Caitlynn it was simply a matter of running with her sister, something the two have been doing since Caitlynn picked up the sport during their junior year in high school.
“When we went to Ball State for our first visit we told them, ‘Well, if you want one of us, we hope you want both of us because we’re not separating,’” Caitlynn said.
While they aren’t identical twins, they certainly are joined at the hip. Not only are the girls best friends, they’re roommates and take the exact same classes. They were also both recently accepted into the prestigious BSU nursing program.
“We get up every day at 6:30 a.m. and train, and then head to classes,” Caitlynn said.
They’ve both been on the Dean’s list since they enrolled, and to no one’s surprise have also found success with their running.
Courtney floats between the No. 2 and No. 3 runner on the cross country team while Caitlynn is steady at No. 6. They run various events for the indoor season in the winter and run the steeplechase together during the spring outdoor track season.
After getting their legs under them as freshman, their second year of running at the Division I level is showing true promise. Bishel anticipates the girls taking a lead role with the team next fall as juniors.
“They’re very coachable and two of the smartest runners I’ve ever had,” Bishel said.
The coach said it’s not unthinkable for the two to finish their college careers as the school’s No. 1 and No. 2.
“The sky is the limit for them,” Bishel said. “Particularly for Caitlynn because she hasn’t been running as long as Courtney has so she has room for more improvement.”
Both set personal best times this year in 5K competition with Courtney running an 18.25 and Caitlynn a 19.30.
“We don’t go into it scared anymore,” Courtney said. “You go in now knowing what you can do and who you can kind of stay with.”
For now, Courtney is the faster of the two at long distances, but Caitlynn beat her speedy sister’s time in a separate indoor mile race.
“I ran like a 5.25 and Caitlynn ran in the second heat and she got a 5.23 and I was like, ‘You beat me, you beat me!”
Still, there is no sibling rivalry, only support and encouragement for each other.
“I’d rather her have a good race than both of us have a bad race,” Courtney said.
It’s a supporting relationship the girls have always had family members say.
“I can tear-up just thinking about how blessed we are,” said Sherry Edon, the girls’ mother.
“Courtney is Caitlynn’s push. She is constantly telling her how she can do it. They are there for each other and always have each other’s back.”
One thing the two can’t believe is how quickly their college careers are flying by. With school, training six days a week and a steady set of races throughout the year, they know they’ll graduate before long.
Once they do, they have no plans to move away from each other or stop running together.
“We’re going to be neighbors when we get married,” Caitlynn said.
“Or at least live in the same neighborhood,” Courtney added.
Caitlynn’s hope is for them to find a nice set of twin boys to date.
“That is my dream,” she said before the two erupted with laughter.
Of course the guys will have to keep up with the girls who have once again proved that’s hard to do in the classroom and on the track.