Running a mile in West Chester native Kristie Kershaw’s shoes would be a difficult task to emulate. As she starts her fourth year as a cross country runner and first season as captain for the women’s team, Kershaw, ’08, has much to accomplish. Kershaw has always been involved in athletics. Whether it was playing lacrosse, swimming or field hockey, the one element that she loved the most was the “actual running.” This, in fact, actually sparked her interest to join cross country track at her alma mater, West Chester East High School in her junior year. Kershaw also states how her willingness to be involved was the impetus for running.
“If I didn’t play, I always got frustrated because I wanted to be active,” Kershaw said.
According to Kershaw, some of her more prominent memories in her cross country career were the Regionals during her freshman year.
In addition to this, Kershaw said how gaining relationships on the team is another significant factor.
“Being on a small college team, you get to know the girls on a personal level as well as on a team level,” Kershaw said.
As a leader, Kershaw recognizes the importance of the entire team’s participation. In fact, what she emphasized is the idea that “all of the girls run” leaving no one left out. This points to another idea, according to Kershaw, “Everybody gets to be a part of the team.” More importantly, the girls are able to “benefit the team” in the long run. In addition, from a managing perspective, Kershaw said that when leading a team, “you have to know what works and what doesn’t work.”
With dedication comes effort. This no pain, no gain attitude has taken Kershaw to places like breaking a record time of 25:07 in the 6000 m at Delaware Valley University or in some cases the extreme such as injuries. According to Kershaw, she has endured some minor shin splints and stress fractures, and consequently had to take some time off. Overcoming these injuries has been her greatest challenge; these injuries she said are often results of the fact that she is an “over trainer.” Nonetheless, this is something she recognizes she needs to work on.
The actual wear and tear-practice and conditioning-that take place on the team occurs every day. This includes running six to eight miles a day, twice on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Off the track, Kershaw has developed her own mental and physical discipline. Having a proper diet is something that Kershaw capitalizes on due to the fact that she is nutrition/dietetics major; incorporating enough fiber and carbohydrates into her eating habits is something she especially takes into account for training. For leisure, Kershaw participates in other athletic activities like hiking or swimming.
Before every meet, Kershaw reminds herself that she is “going out there for myself and the team and no one else” which she said, ultimately, “gets her focused.”
What Kershaw recognizes as her greatest accomplishments overall are her academic record and the fact that she can “be a part of an athletic program that I really love doing.” In addition to this, she values the fact that she is on a team that is “so close.”
Throughout her career, Kershaw wants to maintain a wholesome and healthy lifestyle. And ultimately, Kershaw said that no matter what happens, she will “always focus on the future.