Hereford junior Kristen Malloy is preparing to defend her title in the girls elite race at the Bull Run cross country invitational meet on her home course. Malloy set a course record of 18 minutes, 40 seconds at last year's Bull Run. One of the area's top distance runners since her freshman year, Malloy has been named first-team All-Metro in five of six season of cross country and track. She won the indoor Class 3A-2A 3,200-meter title as a freshman and the outdoor Class 2A 3,200 meter title as a sophomore. Last fall, she finished third in the Class 2A cross country championships. Interested in math and science but undecided on her career path, Malloy has a 4.0 unweighted grade point average.
Did your dad get you started running?
Yes. I started running with my dad a little bit when I was in eighth grade. He was a runner in high school, and he sort of picked it up again around that time. We just started going out on weekend runs from time to time, and it just progressed from there.
What did you like about it?
I always felt good afterward. At that point, when you first start, you improve really rapidly. You start making leaps, and it was a lot of fun to get a lot better.
When did you really get hooked?
I guess I was really hooked after the Bull Run in ninth grade. That was my first real cross country race, and I did really well. I was fourth that year, but as a freshman, I was a little bit overzealous. I think I led the first mile and a half and then kind of fell back and died.
You were disappointed to finish third in last year's state cross country meet. Does that motivate you now?
It's been motivating me since last November. It's kind of tough when you have a goal like winning states, and it doesn't happen. You're just kind of haunted by that. You try to forget about it during track, but once the summer started it came right back. I just knew what I had to do to get there.
The Hereford course has a reputation for being very difficult. Does it give you an advantage because you run here every day?
I don't think so. There's hills everywhere. The hills here aren't really any different than other places.
This is probably the only course with so many sections that have names: the dip, the cornfield, the maze. Are they all tough areas to run?
Yeah. We nicknamed the cornfield the square of death. The cornfield is actually kind of flat, but people tend to fall asleep there, zone out, plus the hill coming out of there is just totally insane.
Do you like the course?
My favorite part is right when you make a left into the maze, and you kind of float downhill for a little while before you really enter the maze. It's a really good part of the course to gap someone.
Which do you like better, cross country or track?
That's a tough one. I guess I have to go with cross country, because I'm better with longer distances. If we had a 5,000 (meter race) in track, I think I would like track better. In track, there's a lot more consistency to your times. You can really compare one race to the next. Cross country's also fun. I like running on different courses.
What was the last book you read for fun?
The seventh Harry Potter book.
Did you like it?
Yeah, except for the ending. It was really cheesy. I think Harry should have died. It would have made a more dramatic closing to the series. The ending just really annoys me, because it was like it was all just happy ever after and it made it kind of childish, which I guess maybe that's because I'm older now.
What's your most prized possession and why?
All my running shoes. My one maybe superstition is that I have to run in Asics Gel-Nimbus. That's the shoe that's always worked for me. I have all the ones I've ever had. There's only eight or nine of them. They're all lined up in my closet. I can remember things about each shoe, like stages of my running.
What did you do on your summer vacation?
We went up to [Narragansett] Rhode Island for most of the summer. We have a summer home up there. We were about a half a mile from the beach, so I did a lot of swimming and skim-boarding.
Did you run a lot?
Pretty much every day. We'd go to this town called Westerly for a fun run every Wednesday. It's like a 5K. I use it as a tempo run. One night, there were two Kenyans who had come to the race. They were over here for the Falmouth race, and it was really neat, because they were really, really good runners. They were running the race as a workout, and the woman ran with me the entire time.
Did you talk with her? Did she give you any advice?
She was big about not going out too hard and keeping a steady pace. It was really neat. I don't remember her name exactly, but I have her e-mail address.