Setting the new pace

A new pace has been set for the Johnson women’s cross country team. Emily McCarthy is a freshman on the team and has been the top finisher for all but one race.

McCarthy started her running career when she joined her middle school cross country team in the seventh grade, which makes this season her seventh season of running. “The summer before I started middle school, my dad and grandfather suggested that I join the cross country team, so I started running that summer,” she said. McCarthy comes from a family of runners. “My siblings have all run races at some point. My family enjoys running road races together.”

McCarthy recalled being a varsity cross country runner as one of the highlights of her running career. Her personal record (PR) is 21:34 which she ran at the course in Belfast, Maine. I asked McCarthy what her favorite course from high school was and she named the course at Cony High School in Augusta, Maine.

“There are a few rolling hills and one big hill which is great for catching people on. It’s also very spectator friendly, which is always fun, because I love running through cheering crowds of people,” she said.
Another highlight McCarthy reflected on was when she won the Bay of Fundy 10K in Lubec, Maine. “It was a real honor,” she said.

McCarthy has competed in both cross country races and road races. “I definitely prefer cross country races over road races, because often times they are a lot more challenging, and there is more competition,” she said. “I love running through the woods, and it definitely feels like a real race when I put my racing spikes on.”

Despite cross country races being her favorite, McCarthy recalled one particular road race. “My favorite road race that I’ve run is a 10K in Lubec, Maine where my dad grew up. It starts at West Quoddy Head Light and then finishes in town. You breathe in the salty air and the sea roses. The first four miles [are] rolling hills and then you turn right into town. At the end you get homemade Greek yogurt with Maine blueberries!”

Of all the places McCarthy has run, her favorite is her hometown: Farmington, Maine. “There are trails and lots of hilly back roads that I love to run. I have a fun seven-mile loop that I run then go for a swim in the Sandy River below my house,” she said.

Of the races she has completed for Johnson, McCarthy said that the course at the State University of New York (SUNY) Canton was her favorite. “I had my season PR (21:48) there, and the big hill was a fun challenge,” she said.

McCarthy has been a great fit for the Johnson women’s cross country team and her teammates agree. “I think Emily is a very strong talented runner,” said Erik Crosby, a three-year member of the team.
Kate Abdel-Fatah, another three-year member, said, “Emily is a very humble, strong, competitive runner and is a strong asset to our program.”

Crosby said that McCarthy is “a very good fit for the team,” when referring to her positive attitude.
Different runners have different ways of preparing for a race. “To prepare for a race, besides training, I try to sleep at least nine hours the night before and drink lots of water. I usually like to eat a banana and peanut butter before my race,” McCarthy said. She recently competed in the NAC Championship race on October 29th at Johnson State College.

Running means different things to different people. Some use it as a stress relief, a way of exercise or just as a hobby. McCarthy said, “Running is a great way for me to relieve stress and think through problems. I love the competition of racing and seeing how hard I can push myself. I think that running, and being in shape, keeps me positive and gives me more energy.”

McCarthy, like every other runner, has goals that she would like to accomplish. “Eventually I would like to be running in the low 20s or high 19s for a 5K. This summer I would like to run a half marathon, and at some point after college, I would love to run a full marathon,” she said.
After college, McCarthy plans to keep on running and hopes to start running longer distances.