Interview: Rock Hill senior Hannah Robinson

Rock Hill senior Hannah Robinson talks about her goals for the state meet Saturday and role in the running community.

Full name: Hannah Elizabeth Robinson
Date of birth: May 16, 1991
Brothers/Sisters: Alex Robinson (18, brother), Adele Robinson (11, sister)
Hobbies: Biking, swimming, photography, painting,
Academic interest: Psychology or Art (Graphic Design)
Training shoe: adidas Supernova
Racing shoe: Red Nike spikes

scrunners: When did you start running?
robinson: I started in the seventh grade.

scrunners: Do you remember your first race?
robinson: I remember the finish of the race, where I thought I was done so I stopped..but then continued another 200 meters around a corner because the crowd was telling me to keep going. I finished in under 30 minutes.

scrunners: What made you decide to start running?
robinson: I heard about it from one of my good friends at the time and my cousin, so I decided to give it a shot just for a fun after school thing at Northwestern High School.

scrunners: What other sports did you play prior to this?
robinson: When I was younger I went to soccer and basketball camps over the summer, but I was on swim teams from age eight to about 13.

scrunners: Do you have any family members that run?
robinson: My sister participates in the Girls On the Run program in elementary school, and my parents both participated in high school sports, but neither ran in cross country or track and field. My cousin ran on the same team as me in 2003-04 and ran a couple of years in college.

scrunners: As a senior, what kind of goals did you have for the season and how has that been going?
robinson: I wanted to put in the training so I could be more confident about my senior year. It has paid off as the season has gone by and I am finishing at the top with every race now.

scrunners: Do you see yourself running in college?
robinson: I definitely want to continue running in college. I think it'll be exciting to try out new races and visit new courses.

scrunners: Have you been on any college visits?
robinson: Last year I visited Davidson, Furman, and Wake Forest and was impressed with all of them. This year I've yet to visit any but I have some scheduled when the season is over.

scrunners: What schools are you interested in and why?
robinson: I’ve been looking at small to medium liberal arts schools because I like the class size and teaching in those type schools. Running will be a part of the mix but is not my sole reason for applying to these schools.

scrunners: Finishing first at the Class AAAA middle state, how was that race and what did you think of having a different type of qualifying meet?
robinson: I was pretty excited to have won the meet. It was a little odd to be in the qualifier since we haven't had one in the past. It gave me a good idea of what to expect in the state meet.

scrunners: What is your goal for Saturday's meet?
robinson: My goal is to win by doing the best I can do.

scrunners: What did you think of your competition this year?
robinson: I've had good competition this year, particularly in larger meets (like Wendy's Invitational or Coaches Classic) where there have been girls ahead of me. It helped me with my pace. Sierra Henderson (Ridge View) has been up there with me in many of my faces; she is a gifted athlete and a great runner and I have benefited greatly from running with her this year.

scrunners: Do you have a tradition prior to each race?
robinson: I don't have any specific habits that I keep for every race but sometimes I like to wear cool socks or paint my toenails or something else relaxing the night before. Haha.

scrunners: As a runner, what has been your biggest challenge?
robinson: It's always been hard to balance life while still putting in the time it  requires to stay in top form, but this year has been even more of a challenge because I have to set aside time to run everyday, fill out college applications and visit, attend and plan school club activities, and of course have time to do homework,  which has increased significantly this year as I am pursuing an International Baccalaureate Diploma.

scrunners: Are you participating in any post season meets?
robinson: I am scheduled for the Shrine Bowl and plan to run in the Foot Locker South race.

scrunners: If there is one thing you could say to your coaches what would it be and why?
robinson: I thank all my coaches for being there for me and cheering me on in these past years. You have taught me so much about the sport and what it means to be on a team, and have always given me the right amount of training and advice to use in my running career. I don't know how I could have stuck with it without your kindness and support that has pushed me to be the best I can be as an athlete.

scrunners: What kind of course do you prefer?
robinson: My ideal course would be flat the majority of the time with lots of wooded area to run through and down hills as often as the up hills. I think the course closet to this would be the course at McAlpline Park in Charlotte.

scrunners: What course do you consider is the most challenging?
robinson: My home course and South Pointe's are challenging to me. Rock Hill's course has lots of up hills, especially in the second mile and has close to no shade. South Pointe is similar in that not too much of the course is shady and the majority of the last mile is uphill.

scrunners: What kind of winter training do you undergo?
robinson: I train by myself after school, usually putting in six miles or more a day. It's cold so usually I can be seen wearing black leggings and a long sleeve cold gear shirt under my normal t-shirt and shorts, sometimes with a headband so my ears don't freeze off.

scrunners: Do you take a break after the season? Please explain.
robinson: Instead of taking a break, I usually just have more days off then I normally would in the first couple of weeks after the end of the season. I know that if I did take off a week or so, it would be harder to get back to my normal training.

scrunners: Who do you admire the most and why?
robinson: I can't say that I admire any one person... I think highly of all my coaches because they all put in so much of their time to guide their team. I look up to the Rock Hill Striders who I run with sometimes as well. It is a group of people of any age show up Sunday morning at 7:30 to run 10 miles together, which I think takes a lot of discipline to sacrifice weekend sleep time for training's sake. In general I admire many of the runners I know who have the dedication to put in times to train and have a passion for improving.

scrunners: Do you see yourself coaching in the future, if so, at what level and why?
robinson: I could see myself coaching in the future because now I am the captain of my team. I love to lead my team now and give out advice on how they can be better runners, so it is a possibility that it is something I would enjoy doing in the future.

scrunners: What do you think it takes to be a distance runner?
robinson: I think distance runners need to have plenty of discipline and patience to stick with it. It takes some time to build up the endurance so that one can begin putting in the miles, so a distance runner also needs to be someone who looks at the bigger picture and sees what their training will for them in the long run (err, accidental pun), instead of getting down about short term tiredness and fatigue.

scrunners: Are you planning on running track? If so, what will be your focus?
robinson: I haven’t run track since my eighth grade year when I ran for Northwestern, but in the past years I’ve kept up with my own training to stay in running shape. I haven’t made a definite decision on what I will do this year but whatever choice I make I will definitely maintain top form.

scrunners: What do you recommend to younger runners that want to achieve their best in the sport?
robinson: Younger runners always need to keep their eyes on the competition ahead. When I first ran I found it hard to branch away from the security of running with my friends, but later I saw how fun it was to raise my position on the team and from that point I improved each year. Newer runners should also should seek advice from the more seasoned runners and put in the training as much as possible to improve their running.

scrunners: If there is one thing in the world you could do, what would it be and why?
robinson: ...One thing in the world to do is hard to come up with. Something I would like to do would be to clean up the environment. This reflects on me because I always do my work better and fall asleep easier when I know that my room is clean, haha. Imagine what could be accomplished in the world if we used more environmentally safe methods to fuel the world and produce materials for people. I think keeping things clean would give us all one less thing to worry about in trying to achieve other goals.