Katharine Hills

Katharine Hills

I’m faster than the gingerbread man. If bet a box of chocolates, I could probably beat Forrest Gump in a race. They don’t scare me. At the end of the day, the gingerbread man and Forrest Gump are both sprinters.

Sprinters are known for quick-twitch muscles and fast bursts of energy, and they primarily run in 200- and 100-meter races. This means they’re very fast, but only for a short amount of time.

I, on the other hand, don’t have a quick-twitch muscle in my body. I can run for days on end. Okay, maybe it’s just 8 miles, but the point is I love long-distance running.  I’ve been running since kindergarten, but I didn’t really get serious about the sport until my sophomore year of high school.

When I was younger, I only ran to stay in shape. It never really captured my interest. I tried tennis, bowling, gymnastics and cheerleading all before high school, but none of those sports really clicked for me.

Over time I slowly fell in love with running. It created this deep, irrational love that makes me say, “I think I’m going to go run a 5K.”

Maybe it was the way the wind rustles through the leaves while I’m running. Maybe it was the way rain covers my skin when the sky is a stormy gray. If I really had to guess, I’d say it was the atmosphere I was welcomed into when I transferred to Tullahoma my freshmen year from Murfreesboro and started running here.

I’m currently team captain of Tullahoma Girls Cross Country team and run the two mile and 4x800-meter relay for the high school track and field team.

I’ve met so many great runners that have encouraged me to work hard and become better.  My coaches, Clemmons, Lester, and Flowers have guided me every step of the way. 

This sport has even introduced me to a new mental state. I’ll admit that it sounds a little far-fetched, but it’s true: running gives you so much time to help sort out your thoughts and emotions. It’s therapeutic in its own way.

I hope to progress and strengthen my running abilities as time passes. My dream is to run competitively at Division 1 or 2 in college. I’m looking into UTC, but my dream college would be Princeton University.

This summer, I participated in the Nike Clark Running Camp in New Jersey, where I was advised by four Olympic medalists.  Since I am a long-distance runner, I was primarily advised by J.J. Clark, the director of track and field at Stanford. He also brought his Olympian sister, Hazel Clark – who competed in the 2000, 2004 and 2008 Summer Olympics – to help out. Hazel also holds five NCAA titles from her time with the University of Florida Track and Field team. At the camp, I learned so much about pacing and stance. It taught me further about proper mental state and proper stretching before and after a race. The experience is one I greatly value and cherish.

I’ve loved this sport for a while now, and even if I don’t achieve my dream, I know I’ll be running for the rest of my life. Right now I’m faster than the gingerbread man, and I’d like for it to stay that way.

Wildcat Corner is new column series giving voice to the students of Tullahoma High School. Throughout the school year, THS National English Honors Society students will submit a column detailing personal life and school experiences in exchange for society service hours and real world print media experience. Submissions are edited. Columns will appear in the Sunday edition of The Tullahoma News.