Interviews with cross-country athletes Hannah Endo and Chris Coles

Included in her coverage of the cross-country team’s meet series, which were the first inter-school competitions involving CHS teams in over eleven months, features editor Sequoia Clark interviewed junior cross-country runners Hannah Endo and Chris Coles. The interviews were conducted on March 6 at a dual meet against Bonita High School. Below are transcripts of the interviews:

Interview with Hannah Endo
S: To preface, have you been racing this whole season, or did you just get back recently?
H: I actually just got back last week because we were waiting for my grandma to get vaccinated. Although I was running a little bit on my own, I have been dealing with an ankle injury.
S: Despite the circumstances, how does it feel to be able to be back to race and compete this season?
H: It’s definitely nice to be with the team and to be racing again; it has been almost a year since I’ve raced, so I’m happy that we get the opportunity to race, and safely too.
S: Have you been able to be meeting your goals this season, or from last season, or have you needed to change them?
H: I have definitely had to change them because I got injured, which is something that usually does not happen. So, my training schedule got very shifted. Yeah, definitely goals always change.
S: Since you have been racing, have you had to change your racing mentality now that this is such a different format? How is it different for you personally?
H: I feel like it’s pretty much the same, of course there’s less people so it is more mentally tough if you are running by yourself. But I don’t think much has changed; it is still the same race feeling.
S: Does the lack of spectators make a difference for you?
H: Totally, it helps when you have people cheering you on. It helps you go faster and generally boosts up your mentality.
S: How has the adjustment to socially distanced racing been for you: how has it been going? Has it been hard, or is it better in any way?
H: It has not been hard personally because I would like to keep socially distanced. I think people on this team do a primarily good job staying distant, and I don’t have trouble with it at all.
S: Is it harder to be running alone, mentally is it challenging to not be running with anyone else around you?
H: For sure, mental toughness is a big thing in running. In workouts or races it is definitely hard to keep up your mental game like normal.
S: Finally, what are you looking forward to for the rest of the season?
H: Honestly just running with people, and hopefully getting back into better shape.

Interview with Chris Coles
S: To begin with, have you thus far been running all of this season’s races, or is this your first one back?
C: I have done every race that they have done so far.
S: What would you say are the main differences between the races this season and those of past seasons?
C: Compared to last season there are a lot of differences. There are some that are the same, but there are no spectators, the course is really bad because it is on a high school campus [Ayala, where three races were held], and the competition is much lower. I would say those three things are the main differences from previous years.
S: Is it a lot harder to be racing when there is a lot less competition, and no spectators?
C: I would say so, spectators are important, but for most sports it is really competition. When it feels like there are low stakes, and it feels like there’s no real motivation and push, usually people won’t do as well, myself included.
S: How are you feeling about being able to compete and race this season given the circumstances?
C: I’m taking whatever they have to give me. I wasn’t actually planning to run any of these races because I was hurting, but it was just in my mind that this is may be all I’ll get, and I’m just going to race while I can.
S: Have you had to modify your goals this season? Without the added competitiveness you can’t push yourself as hard, so how have you had to change your mentality in that regard?
C: One thing that’s changed is usually when I’m feeling some sort of not quite injury, but pain that could lead to injury, I’ll take a day off, take a few days off to tend to that. But, during this phase I haven’t done that. If something is hurting pretty bad I will just take some ibuprofen or some ice and just keep going: I’m being a bit more reckless I would say.
S: This season over the course of time kept getting postponed. How were you able to stay motivated when it didn’t seem like anything was happening?
C: This is for me personally, but running for me is something that is very very important, so I had this kind of natural motivation and drive. Something that I always keep in the back of my mind, that really helped me keep going was that eventually we will be able to go to school, to do the things that I wanted to do. And I knew that if I trained hard when there was nothing to look forward to, if I kept in shape, I would come back and I would be on fire.
S: How has the adjustment to socially distanced racing been for you? Has there been anything that you actually prefer, or anything that has held you back?
C: That racing has stayed pretty much the same, if you haven’t seen the starts, they pretty much have everyone on the line which is how it goes at an actual race. The only real difference is that you have to hold your mask, usually I’ll wrap it around my arm, so that it stays. I’m a bit indifferent because the thing is that I’m just so happy we’re racing that I’m not really thinking about it.
S: A good percentage of the cross-country team was not able to stay motivated and numbers have dropped: how do you think this will affect the team for the remainder of the season?
C: Definitely, we will be hurting a bit because of that, we lost a few seniors unfortunately. For this track season, we won’t look quite as strong as we would, but still are going to be strong.
S: I think that’s all my questions pertaining to cross-country. Do you have any questions for me, or anything you think that I should include?
C: All I can really say is that I think it’s really cool for the people that are still pushing, and making it a team. I really appreciate what the coaches are doing, for Reeves, Chris, Carvalho, and Sydney. Overall they are just a really good job.

To read more about cross-country’s season, click here
To read about the seasons of other Claremont teams currently competing and about the state of Claremont athletics, click here.