Junior runs impromptu marathon in pouring rain

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The sun went down, heavy rain splashed against the asphalt and everyone fled the Chester Valley Trail — everyone except junior Ella Warkentine. Running her first ever marathon, the varsity cross country and track runner was not ready to give up.

By Michael Tierney, Staff Reporter

The sun went down, heavy rain splashed against the asphalt and everyone fled the Chester Valley Trail — everyone except junior Ella Warkentine. Running her first ever marathon, the varsity cross country and track runner was not ready to give up. 

On Nov. 11, 2020, Warkentine went on the longest and most exhausting run of her life. While most runners were recovering in between the fall cross country and the winter track season, she was out in the cold rain breaking personal records. Warkentine planned on going on a 7-mile run, but could not resist as she pursued the famous 26.2 mile mark. 

“As I was running, I decided I wanted to beat 15 miles, which was my previous record. After that I was like I might as well try to reach 20, and if I go to 20, I might as well do a marathon because it’s only another 6 miles, even though it was pouring rain,” Warkentine said. 

This was Warkentine’s first time running a marathon, and it only took her under four hours to complete it, which is a 9 minute and 27 second mile pace. Warkentine kept herself motivated during the run and pushed herself along the way.

“I had the confidence to do it because there was nothing making me do it, so there was nothing bad that would happen if I didn’t do it, so I figured why not,” Warkentine said.

Once she crossed the finish line, Warkentine’s mother, who did not know where she had been for the past four hours, picked her up and took her home through the rain. Warkentine said there was not that much excitement or cheering when she finally returned home. 

“I was absolutely exhausted afterwards because the last three miles took forever. I kind of wanted to collapse, but I surprisingly survived it, so I guess if you put your mind to it you can do anything,” Warkentine said. 

Richard Hawkins, head coach of the cross-country team, has coached Warkentine for three seasons. Hawkins believes Warkentine has significantly progressed as a runner throughout her high school years.

“When she first started, she had noticeable talent and a strong competitive edge. Over the last several seasons she has started to refine herself as a runner. She has realized the importance not only of more training, but also smarter training. She is starting to understand the ‘hows’ and ‘whys’ of proper training and using it to her advantage,” Hawkins said.

Hawkins mentioned how fortunate he is to have Warkentine on his team and believes that next year will be Warkentine’s most successful year as a runner. Shortly after running her marathon, Warkentine made sure to tell Hawkins.

“I was very excited because I could see how proud she was when she told me. It just goes to show how focused she can be. She just got locked into the zone and kept on pushing,” Hawkins said.

In addition, Hawkins believes that Warkentine maximizes her performance in track and cross country by not only utilizing her athletic ability, but also her mind.

Warkentine is open to competing in marathons once she improves her time but doubts that she will run another one on her own in the near future due to the conflicting track season. She has a rare passion and motivation for running and plans on considering competing in cross country and track in college.

“Running on my own is one of the best feelings. It’s one of the few times in the day where I can think clearly, because with electronics, school and other sports, I’m always having to focus on something, but when you run, you get so bored and have to think of random stuff, and sometimes it gives me ideas for school projects and research,” Warkentine said. “It’s just a freeing feeling for me.”

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