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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    CC’s newcomer happy to be in ‘fun’ Tucson heat

    When you think of the hometowns of great long-distance runners, you might automatically think of places in states like Arizona, California, Texas and other warm climate areas.

    But don’t tell that to Maggie Callahan, a freshman from Fairbanks, Alaska.

    That’s right, Alaska. Where the sun doesn’t shine for three months out the year. Where minus-10 degrees is only a bit chilly. Where training in the winter is nearly impossible.

    Nearly.

    “”We didn’t train very much in the winter,”” Callahan said. “”The last two years my cross country team went to the Nike International which was in December, but that was the first time we ever trained in the winter, and it was miserable.

    “”We’d be running until it was about 30 below, and that would be inside, on a 200-meter track, which is awful for distance running. It was cold and it was awful.””

    But the bitter cold and the lack of reasonable facilities wasn’t enough to stop Callahan from becoming, according to head track coach Fred Harvey, one of the “”top distance runners in cross country in the West Region.””

    “”I think she was one of the most underappreciated recruits in the country,”” Harvey added.

    Harvey said she ran the mile in 5:01, which is “”good, but its not one of the elite times. But she’s in Alaska and the bottom line is that you just don’t get a lot of running opportunities up there.””

    Arizona cross country head coach James Li, who is currently in Japan fulfilling duties with the United States World Championship team, echoed Harvey’s sentiments, calling Callahan “”a good freshman addition”” who along with juniors Melissa Urban and Irine Lagat can make the women’s squad “”pretty competitive this year.””

    Callahan said she thinks that she can live up to her coaches’ expectations.

    “”I feel really good about this year,”” Callahan said. “”I’ve never trained for more than three months at a time so I’m really excited about being able to train in this environment.””

    As for her abrupt change in climates, Callahan said she is happy to be in Tucson.

    “”It’s a lot hotter down here,”” she said. “”We were running at 5:30 in the morning, but it’s fun.””

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