During the fall season, eighth grader Maddy Whitman ran JV cross country throughout the season and then was asked to compete at ISSTs, which are the season-ending championships for high school. She got pulled up to the JV team after the middle schoolers ran their first meet, the coaches clearly seeing her potential to the other middle schoolers.
When given the opportunity, the coaches then asked her if she would consider running and representing the varsity cross country team for ISSTs. She took this opportunity and ran a 20:30 placing sixth overall for girls and was the first girl from ASL to finish the race. As the cross country season came to a close, she felt she had to continue training and get more experience in order to excel during track season.
Whitman runs with the Belgrave Harriers based in Battersea Park, London. Practices are on Tuesday and Thursday and meets can vary from Saturdays to Thursdays. Whitman competes in the Junior league which contain 13-15 year olds. “There are a lot more people that run the races than compared to ASL and conditions are a lot different,” said Whitman who explained that some races even have 400 people.
Additionally, the conditions can also affect competition. “The conditions really impact your times and it also affects your race strategy if it’s super muddy, or rainy,” she said.
Her motivation to practice has really been the key to all her cross country and track achievements. “[Running] is a great way to relieve stress and take my mind off school,” said Whitman. This way to release stress has caused her to find a good balance between academic work and training sessions.
Whitman has had outstanding supporters throughout the cross country and track seasons. “My family and coaches are my best supporters because they are always looking out for me and encouraging me so that I can perform to the best of my ability.”
However, it’s not only her supporters she credits to her success. She’s a strong believer in the idea that you cannot perform well if your head is in the wrong place. “In races where the conditions are really hard and you know it’s going to be a long run, the mental aspect of running is just as important as the physical,” she said. “Even when the workouts are challenging, it’s really rewarding when you finish knowing you’ve completed something.”
After spending the entire winter sports season going to workouts, training sessions, and meets, Whitman’s motivation, supporters, and mind-set during races has given her strength and ability to thrive in cross country in the fall and track and field in the spring. She continues to work hard and although the bar is set high for track season, her hard work will likely lead to success.