Track Chats - Hannah Christen
This interview features Hannah Christen, junior, Lake Braddock HS, Burke, VA. Hannah is listed among Honorable Mention in MileSplit’s most recent (10/8) USA Rankings; verified by finishing a fine 6th (near PR 5k - 18:10.50) in the very competitive Nike South Invitational, The Woodlands, TX on 10/6. Hannah’s cross country PR’s are 5k (18:08) and 3m (17:40). Even stronger on the track, her bests there are 800 (2:14.37), 1600m (4:54.68), mile (4:56.40), 3000m (9:42.97), 3200m (10:30.14), and 2 mile (10:26.99).
When & how did you get started in cross country, or generally in your running career?
I tried cross country in 7th grade when some of the girls on my soccer team were looking for cross training opportunities. We joined the Fairfax Police Youth Club (FPYC) cross country team. I had a good time and ended up qualifying for USATF National Junior Olympics. Coach Gary Sidor did a great job of making running fun. In eighth grade I skipped cross country and played soccer exclusively. In 9th grade I came back to cross country and have competed in cross country and track & field since then.
Person/people most influential to your success in cross country, or generally in your running career?
The people that are most influential in my running career are my parents. They are so supportive and are always helping me to be my best and achieve the most that I can.
Your cross country coach(es)?
My cross country coaches are the best. My head coach, Mike Mangan, is great and always tries to get my teammates and I in the best races, and has given us so many opportunities to do our best. Steven Hoogland has really pushed me, and always has great workouts. He really knows what he’s doing, and has been able to peak Sophie, I, and my teammates at the right time. Another one of my coaches is Jason Switzer; and many times he has worked out with Sophie and I, and always pushes us. He’s tough as nails and is a great training partner. Coach Jeff Custer and Megan Liss are also super helpful. They’re both hilarious and always know how to make me smile and laugh regardless of whether or not I had a good or bad race/workout.
Keys to your successful training program?
The keys to my successful training program are a great coaching staff and amazing teammates. The coaching staff develops the workout plans, and my teammates encourage each other to work hard to execute the workouts. Without the encouragement of great coaches and teammates it would be very hard to stay motivated during difficult workouts.
Why do you enjoy cross country?
I enjoy cross country because of my teammates. Everyone is so close to each other, and I know I can count on them for anything. I’ve also made great friends from other Cross Country teams.
Your favorite cross-country meet(s)?
My favorite cross country meet is the Braddock Relays. Braddock Relays is a meet held at Lake Braddock High School, and is a ton of fun. It’s a 5-person relay race at night under the lights across the Lake Braddock campus. It is a home meet with a lot of spectators, and I’m really excited to race in it again this year.
Cross country athlete(s) you most enjoy competing against?
I most enjoy competing against my teammate Sophie Chase, Caroline Alcorta from West Springfield, and Bailey Kolonich from Robert E. Lee. Sophie and I workout together all the time, so it’s comforting to have her near me because it makes it seem less like a race and more like a workout, taking the pressure off a little. I also love to race Caroline and Bailey because we’re friends and occasionally train together, and they’re both fierce competitors.
Your greatest cross country experience in your career so far?
My greatest cross country experience was my freshman year at Regional Championships. We won as a team, and it was the best feeling to celebrate winning the championship for the school.
Goals for the 2012 cross country season?
My biggest goal is to help the team win championships.
Long-term goals in cross country, or generally in your running career?
My long-term goal is to run for a Division 1 college. I want to continue to get better so that I can compete at the national level in college.
See Hannah’s MileSplit webpage at http://va.milesplit.com/athletes/1620484-hannah-christen .