By: Alice Coughlin
The women's track and field team traveled to Nashville, Tenn. for the Country Music marathon and half marathon. The event included over 35,000 participants in the mini-marathon, half marathon and full marathon. This was the 12th year of the Country Music marathon and half marathon. The event feautured 50 bands at 28 different stages along the course in Nashville. The Lady Vikings had two runners race the marathon and eight runners race the half marathon.
Seniors Jenn Cook and Sara Walcott raced the daunting full marathon. Cook had raced one other marathon in her running career at the Cleveland Rock 'n Roll marathon in 2010. As per senior tradition, Cook chose to run the marathon a second time for the last race of her Berry College running career. Cook was able to improve her previous personal record by over ten minutes with an impressive time of 3:11:16 for a solid fifth place finish. Cook's marathon performance proves her mastery in every running event from the 1500 meters to the arduous marathon.
Captain Sara Walcott had an astounding marathon debut with a finishing time of 3:14:52. Walcott was able to finish seventh place overall. It is both impressive and fitting for two extremely dedicated seniors to finish in the top ten of a field of thousands of race participants. Despite the hilly course and the unexpected heat, Walcott and Cook were able to endure the conditions and finish their collegiate running careers victoriously.
"The marathon is really hard, I mean it was fun for a while. It's definitely the hardest thing I've ever done, but I'm proud to have finished it and done pretty well," said Walcott.
In the half marathon, the women had many more strong performances. Sophomore Charlotte Collins was the first Lady Viking to cross the finish line for the half marathon. Collins had a finishing time of 1:38:28 for the 13.1 mile distance. Next across the line was junior Lauren Nation. Nation finished the distance in 1:40:02. The next two Lady Vikings to finish within the same minute were sophomore Katy Jordan and senior Keri McGinnis. McGinnis, a veteran to the half marathon, had a finishing time of 1:44:11. Jordan finished in 1:44:16 which was a personal record by nine minutes.
Following Jordan was freshman Nicole Fredette. Fredette finished her half marathon in 1:49:54. Then, freshman Hibah Abuhamdieh completed her first ever half marathon run. Despite pre-race concerns, Abuhamdieh had a successful half marathon debut with a finishing time of 1:54:34.
"It was my first half marathon. And it was such an enjoyable and meaningful experience," said Abuhamdieh.
The women's team had a successful end to a track and field season full of personal records and school records. The women's team will compete at the unofficial 2nd Annual Rage On Milk Mile on May 2. Following the Milk Mile is the Shorter Hawk Qualifier on May 11 and 12.