Interview: Clover Blue Eagle Kristen Thomas

Full Name: Kristen Faith Thomas
Academic Interest: I enjoy math and sciences, but I do well in all subjects.
Brother/Sisters: Amanda Thomas (18)Brother- Erik Thomas (13)
Hobbies: I enjoy running, reading, and camping.
Date of Birth: August 12, 1988
Personal Bests: 5K- 20:02

scrunners: With your 10th place finish at the Wendy\'s Invitational among a large number of runners from North Carolina how did you feel during the race and following the race? How did the race unfold for you?
thomas: Lately I have been going out too fast in the beginning of the races, and by the third mile, I have nothing left. At Wendy\'s, I tried to keep a steady pace throughout the whole race. This strategy worked well for me. I had enough energy left to open up on my third mile, and I finished with my best time ever. During the race, I felt well. I tried to stay relaxed and push through the finish. When the race was over, I was tired, but I felt great.

scrunners: When did you start to run?
thomas: I started running in second grade. Every Wednesday evening during the summer, my community would hold family fun runs. There were different races, and different age groups. My whole family would participate in the runs. I was only running about half a mile at the time.

scrunners: What made you decide to run cross country?
thomas: When I was in fourth grade, I ran on a community track team. After fourth grade, we moved. Towards the end of my sixth grade year, I heard an announcement at school, inviting people to sign up for next year\'s track team. I had enjoyed running in fourth grade, so I decided to sign up. That summer when the coach called me, I found out I had really signed up for Cross Country, not track. I wasn\'t sure if I could even run three miles, but my dad convinced me to at least try it.

scrunners: Do you also compete in track and field? What events do you specialize in and why?
thomas: I ran track in seventh grade. I ran the mile and the two mile, but I did not like running in circles. The next year I decided not to run. Now I play soccer during track season.

scrunners: What course is your favorite in South Carolina and out of state? Explain.
thomas: I have only run Cross Country in North and South Carolina. In South Carolina, my favorite course is Fort Mill High School\'s course at Anne Springs Close Greenway. I enjoy this course because it is a true cross country course. It is all along small trails in the woods. You even have to run through two or three creeks. The course is difficult, but a lot of fun. In North Carolina my favorite course is the course at McAlpine Park. It is a fast course that is not extremely hard. It is also the course that I have my best time on.

scrunners: Does or did anyone else in your family run?
thomas: My dad ran track when he was in High School. Once out of High School, he continued to run on his own. He still runs on a regular basis.

scrunners: What kind of training did you undergo this summer?
thomas: Our team would practice together about twice a week. We would either run at school or at Kings Mountain State Park. The rest of the week, I would practice on my own. For one week in July, I attended Coach Benson\'s Nike Running Camp in Ashville, North Carolina.

scrunners: Who do you train with in the summer?
thomas: Two days a week I train with Clover\'s Cross Country team. The rest of the week I train with my dad, or on my own.

scrunners: What kind of goals do you have planned for the rest of the season and how do you see yourself achieving these goals?
thomas: My goals this season are to make the All-Region, All-County, and All-State teams. I would also like to break 20 minutes for a 5K. I plan to achieve these goals by trying my best and working my hardest at practice and all out meets.

scrunners: What kind of goals has Clover set as a team?
thomas: The Clover Varsity girls have a goal to finish in the top five in the state.

scrunners: What do you look for in a coach and what do you expect a coach to look for in you?
thomas: A coach should enjoy working with young people,and be enthusiastic, patient, persistent, concerned, sincere, fair, and organized. A coach should look for athletes who are hard workers and respect the coach and the other athletes. As long as they have a good attitude and a good work ethic, they shouldn\'t have to be the best at the sport.

scrunners: Have you ever been injured? Explain? How did you stay motivated during this time?
thomas: In eighth grade, I had a stress fracture in my right knee. I could not run for the rest of the Cross Country season. When my knee was finally healed, I was ready to run again. My motivation was just watching everyone else enjoy running.

scrunners: Who has been Clover\'s team rival and do you have an individual rival?
thomas: In the past years, York Comprehensive High School has been Clover\'s team rival, but this year we are part of an all new region with all new schools. We have not found our new team rival yet. However, I would probably say that our new team rival will be Eastside or Greer. I don\'t really have an individual rival. I normally race against my times and not specific people.

scrunners: How did these rival\'s develop and when do they become most intense?
thomas: I feel that rivalry normally develops between two teams that score closely or two runners that have very close times. I think that the rivals are the most intense at important meets, like state and region.

scrunners: What kind of race strategy works best for you? Explain. If a race scenario changes from the expected how do you alter your plans.
thomas: The best strategy for me seems to be pacing myself so that all three of my miles are about equal in speed. If I go out too fast, and get too tired, I just try to push through it. Normally I end up slowing on the third mile. If I go out too slow, I try to pick up my second and third miles to make up the time. However, I find it easier to keep the lead than to catch the runners in the lead.

scrunners: Does Clover have a team tradition prior to a meet?
thomas: We don\'t really have a tradition, however the girls team always warm up and stretch together before each race. We also say a short prayer before the start of the races as well.

scrunners: What would you say is the most prestigious meet you have competed in? How did do you fare?
thomas: The most prestigious meet I ever competed in was the Foot Locker Championship Freshman and Sophomore girls open race. I ran this race when I was a freshman and when I was a sophomore. I didn\'t finish when I was a freshman, but I did well my sophomore year. I had a time of 20:56 and came in 64th out of 221 girls.

scrunners: Have you ever meet a professional athlete? If so what did you discuss with them?
thomas: I have never met a professional athlete.

scrunners: With one more year of high school cross country eligibility left for you after this season, how would you like to finish as a senior and have you thought about running in college?
thomas: As a senior, I would like to keep improving my times and have an even better season than this season. If I finish in the top 10 in the state this year I would like to finish in the top five next year. I have thought about running in college, but I have not decided if I am going to.

scrunners: Have ever thought about coaching the sports? If so, why, and what level?
thomas: I have never really considered coaching before.

scrunners: Do you have a favorite running book or movie, if so which one and why?
thomas: I don\'t have a favorite running book or movie, but I do enjoy reading \"Runners World\" magazine.

scrunners: When not running what do you do for fun?
thomas: I enjoy playing soccer, hiking, camping, and canoeing. I also enjoy spending time with my family and friends.

scrunners: With beginning runners increasing more, what do you think they should to during their first year of running for training and racing?
thomas: I believe that beginning runners should start slow and build up their mileage. First they should concentrate on being able to complete a 5K race. After they have reached this goal they can concentrate on getting faster and stronger.

scrunners: What keeps you motivated to get out the door on a daily basis for school, running and life?
thomas: The goals I set for myself keep me motivated. If I don\'t try my best at everything I do, I will never reach my goals. The decisions I make today could effect my future. As long as I give things everything I have and try my hardest, I can\'t ask for anything more.

scrunners: If there is one thing in the world you could do what would it be and why?
thomas: I would like to travel around the world with either my friends or my family. I love to travel and would love to see the many places around the world. I also love to spend time with my family and my friends.