Runner Margaret Connelly ’14 has had an exceptional first season on the cross country team, finishing first in the squad in every race in which she has competed. She continued her streak last Friday at the Ivy League Cross Country Heptagonal Championships, earning a fifth-place finish overall and leading Bruno to a third-place team finish. She earned First Team All-Ivy honors and ran the fastest time of any female Brown runner ever at the Van Cortlandt Park course.
For her exceptional performance throughout the season and especially last Friday, The Herald has named Connelly athlete of the week.
Herald: So you’re First Team All-Ivy honors as a freshman. How does that feel?
Connelly: It’s pretty cool. I mean, the competition was kind of what I expected just looking from last year’s results. That was my goal — to get top-five — so I’m happy with the results.
What’s been the biggest change coming from high school to collegiate cross country?
Probably the length of practices. We do core, you know, strides, pushups, all that stuff, weights — just a lot more intensive practices.
So why did you start running competitively in the first place?
I started running track and cross country in fifth grade. (laughs) My mom was my elementary school coach. So I’ve been running since then.
Does the rest of your family run?
My whole family: my mom, dad, two older brothers and my younger sister. So we’d always do (five-kilometer runs) together as a family tradition.
Why did you choose Brown?
Actually, I came out here last year with my brother and dad to drop my brother off at Providence College, where he’s a junior now. And I came out to talk to the Providence coach, and since I was out here my brother suggested coming over talking to Brown — you know, might as well give it a shot — and ended up loving Brown and not loving Providence (College).
So what are you most interested in studying?
Environmental studies is where I’m leaning towards. But I’ll probably take a variety of classes again this semester.
What classes are you thinking of taking next semester?
Probably a bio class, another environmental, maybe sociology or history. Kind of get a variety.
So if you could meet and talk with anyone from history, who would it be?
Let me think of someone running-related. Michael Johnson, he’s a track phenom — you know, African-American who kind of paved the way for other African-Americans in his day. Pretty inspirational guy.
All right, so who is your favorite professional runner or athlete in general?
(University of Wisconsin’s) Matt Withrow, just because he actually was on the same team in high school as my cousin and he is an amazing runner from Illinois. You know, did really well at Nationals — he won state, I think, his senior year. And I met him, he was at my cousin’s wedding — he was the best man — so he’s kind of close to home.
If you could run anywhere, what would be your ideal place?
Probably through trails, you know, someday maybe I want to do an ultra (marathon).
So maybe Western States 100?
Yeah, maybe like Mexico. Just off that book, “Born to Run.” It inspired me. Yeah, I read it twice in one month.
So do you ever see yourself running a marathon?
Yeah, I want to run a marathon once I’m done competing on a team.
And why do you enjoy running? You’ve been doing it for a really long time. You’re good at it.
I guess it’s just a way of, you know, relaxing and having time to myself, but also it’s a hobby. It’s just like reading or something like that. And I love the team aspect that it comes with.