In anticipation of the New England Indoor Track and Field Championships on March 2nd in Boston, the MileSplit state sites will be profiling some of the region’s top athletes in a question and answer format. Our first entry in this series comes from Courtney Hawkins of Milford High School in New Hampshire. She is the current 3000m Indoor State Champion and also placed third in the 1500m and fourth in the 1000m……all on the same day.
Following an impressive fall season you were name the Gatorade Cross Country Runner of the Year for New Hampshire. What does that award mean to you?
Receiving the Gatorade Cross Country Runner of the Year for NH made me actually realize how hard I worked in my running career. I am very proud of it and thankful for all of the support I have as well. It is the largest and most meaningful award I have received and it motivates me even more to continue working as hard (or harder). I can't explain how great it feels to earn an honorable award in return for the years of hard work.
You won the 3000m and ran two other distance events at the New Hampshire State Championships. Is that common for you to run so many events in one meet and how did you prepare for such a big day?
I was not planning on doing so many events. When my coach told me that I was doing the 3k, 1k, and 1500m, I was very nervous at first. The purpose of doing so many events was to score more points for the team. We were going for the win and everyone had to give everything. My coach said he wouldn't have me doing so many events if he wasn't confident that I could do them well. During the week going into states, I worked on preparing myself mentally. I kept positive thoughts and went through the races in my head every day. My coach always has me listen to upbeat music before the big meets to get me excited and pumped up. I would not let myself go into the meet dreading every event because I knew that that would not get me anywhere. My coach said that I have been physically ready for this for awhile. He always tells me "You did all the hard training for this and have worked hard for months. Today is the easy day; you just have to run the race." I went into every race keeping that quote in mind. I was very proud of my results and our team got a respectable 2nd place. I normally do 2 events during meets (typically the 1600m and 3200m during outdoor). The only other meet I recall doing many events in was the Southern New Hampshire Cluster Meet during 2011 spring track. I did the 1600m, 3200, 800m, and the 4x4. I did not do all of them full out. I enjoy challenges every once in awhile and I like to try and prove that I can do them.
This year I plan to run the two mile at the New England Championships. My strategy is to run a smart race. The last mile is what matters the most. I would also like my last lap to be the fastest like my 3,000m at states. I am going to try my best to get top 6 in New England. Like states, I am going into this thinking positive. Confidence is key.
I like to set goals for each season. However, my long term goal has always been to break five minutes in the mile. My best is 5:00.09 and I am close, I just need that extra push at the end of the race. Another goal is to get All New England Honors at the Indoor New England Championship this year. Lastly, I plan to work hard along with my team to hopefully win the outdoor championship this spring.
More with Courtney Hawkins......