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Interval Session #32 - Emily Jones
February 7, 2008

Can you imagine being a 10:25.20 3200 runner and not holding your school record, or even being #2 on its all-time list? Welcome to Emily Jones’ world, where the Bromfield junior succeeds Stanford senior Arianna Lambie (10:12.0 2-mile in 2003 at Bromfield) and the legendary Lynn Jennings (10.10.5i 2-mile in 1978) as elites at her Harvard MA school.  Indeed, no other HS in the country has 2 runners under 10:15 all-time and a third under 10:30 for 2M/converted 3200.

But while Jones is certainly inspired by the great alums in her midst, she’s carving her own path to steady success under Coach Henry Phelen. She comes off a season where she looked a little vulnerable at midseason (loss at Brown to Keely Maguire), but stormed to a state title, 2nd at Foot Locker NE, and 11th at the Foot Locker Finals. The latter two finishes were improvements on her 9th and 25th as a soph.

Although she missed a race last week with an aggravated Achilles tendon, Jones got off to a great start indoors with a US#1 10:34.60 for the full deuce on a 150 track. Although she didn’t run NON or Junior championships last spring, she is the top returnee from the NSIC 2-mile last year and will be a contender at any national championship she chooses to run – especially if she can close hard on those tough Bromfield school records! DyeStat News Editor SteveU catches up with Emily as she prepares for the indoor championship season.

1. A few months removed now from the end to your successful cross-country season, what kind of thoughts do you have about it at this point? Do you pretty much feel like it was everything you hoped it could be, or do you look back and say you might tweak this or that, if you could?

My cross country season went pretty much the way I hoped it would. I improved, my training went well, and I learned a lot. Looking back on the final Foot Locker race, I would have liked to finish in the top ten given where I placed in the Northeast race. However, I was happy with 11th place and will have something to work towards next year.

2. You’ve already gotten on the oval and cranked out a 10:34 so far this winter. Coming from a state where we had a short, late indoor track season, I can’t imagine how many of the distance runners in the Northeast can recharge so quickly and compete again after a long cross season. What is your perspective on indoor track, and how do you have three competitive seasons … and still get a break and stay recharged? And how do you run a time like that on a 150 track?!?

Given how long my cross country season is, I took a break at the start of the season and didn’t run in some of the earlier meets. I enjoy the transition from one season to another. Each presents its own challenges and allows me to work on new goals. I ran that 10:34 at our League meet. To tell you the truth, I didn’t know I was running that hard…I was just running and having fun but by the 22nd lap on that track the scenery gets a bit tiring. I figure the faster I run, the sooner I finish.

3. I’ve only recently learned that Ari Lambie AND Lynn Jennings are from Bromfield. Wow. What is it like having yourself compared with those all-time greats? Have you been able to draw inspiration and motivation, or does it also get tiresome? Have you had a chance to meet either Ari and Lynn and spend any time with them? What was that like?

They are both amazing runners who have been inspirations for me, since before I even began running for Bromfield, and are both legends at our school. I have met Ari several times, which has been wonderful; however, I’m always a little bit speechless when she shows up at practice during her visits home. Ari seems really nice and very humble. I haven’t met Lynn, but I did get to coach her niece in a running program for elementary school girls this past summer.

4. For runners that are successful as freshmen and sophomores, it can be tough to keep improving as you grow into a junior. But you seem to have made that transition pretty well so far. What are some of your goals for track this year and for your senior year overall?

I would attribute that to my coach. He does an excellent job coaching young girls, beginning in seventh grade and developing them into mature runners. This season, I’m focused on the 2-mile and in the spring I want to see what I can do in the mile. I would love to get close to the school 2-mile record by the time I leave high school; however, that’s easier said than done with Ari and Lynn as my predecessors. Overall, I want to continue to get stronger and stay injury free.

5. I understand that while you are a very talented athlete, you have a reputation for working very, very hard, and really getting the most out of yourself. Can you talk about what it means to you to dig down deep into that pain threshold? And, especially being an upperclassman now, do you find that those experiences you’ve had are things you can transfer over to your teammates as part of being a leader?

I think that many distance runners enjoy the mental challenge of working through that pain. For me, what’s almost more satisfying than the track times, is what I can push myself to do when I am doing a training run – and the only person challenging me is myself. It’s important to find joy in everything you do, and running is no exception. I think that the most valuable thing I can pass down to the younger runners on my team is a love of the sport.

6. You don’t always see very many fast times on Massachusetts XC courses, it seems, but I have a feeling that some people just don’t know how hard some of these courses are. Can you talk a little bit about what you’ve learned about Massachusetts running and its toughest courses over your first three years? Do you have a favorite, especially with the state meet courses?

Massachusetts running is great because there is such variety in the weather, terrain, and scenery. Some of my favorite cross country races have been ones in which I have crossed the finish line covered in mud. One of the most challenging courses in Massachusetts is Northfield Mountain, which was our state course in 2006. My favorite course is Gardner, a golf course with some fairly decent hills that the state meet was held at this past fall. My district meet is held there every year, so I’ve raced the course six times now. My town of Harvard actually attracts many good runners to its road races because of its hilly terrain. It’s a great place to train.

7. You’ve said before that the support and guidance of your parents and coach are very important to you. Can you elaborate more on what makes each of them special and vital to you as a runner and person in different ways?

My coach is as dedicated and smart a coach as a high school runner could possibly hope for. I have been fortunate to work with Henry Phelan since I began running in seventh grade. He develops confidence and trust in his runners and motivates people to want to do well. My parents are a constant source of support and encouragement. They appreciate and get excited by the sport as much as I do. My races wouldn’t be the same without them there to cheer me on.

8. We’ve talked a lot about Emily the runner … now how about a little about Emily the student and what you like to do in the rare free time when you’re not being student or a runner?

Bromfield is known as an academically challenging school. My team and I spend a lot of time studying and doing homework! I enjoy being part of student council and am vice president of my class. This year, I have been writing track/cross country articles for our local paper, which has been a lot of fun. When I’m not running I spend time with friends, read, listen to music, and I’m hoping to learn how to ride a unicycle this summer.

Photo by photorun.net

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