CHARLESTON, S.C. – Georgina Russell crossed the Atlantic to join the women's cross country team at CSU. She has dreamt of representing her home country of England but currently, focuses on working hard day by day and progressing throughout the season. So far it seems to be working. Russell broke her personal record in the 5K by over a minute at the Adidas XC Challenge, her first race ever in the United States.
"I was very happy when I saw my time (19.07). I expected to PR, but I didn't think my time would be a whole minute faster in just 4 weeks of training and living here," said Russell with a smile and a distinct British accent.
Russell is a graduate student in the Organizational Leadership program at CSU and has had a great start as a student-athlete. One of the reasons she moved to Charleston was that American coaching is more individualized and developed than in England.
"The American collegiate system is built around training and helps me focus on my workouts. I have stepped up my mileage with about 20 miles a week, but I feel more recovered from it," said Russell.
Russell has been running for nearly 10 years. She still remembers the date, the exact time of the workout and what she did at her very first training session.
"It was the 20th of May 2008, between 7 and 8:30 in the evening. We did long jump and 120-150 meter reps in a mix of boys and girls. I enjoyed running way more than jumping and immediately decided that I want to run," said Russell.
Russell maintains a similar precision in her training. Her preference for hard workouts and doing the best she can under the coaching of Jim Stintzi, Director of Track & Field and Cross Country, and Assistant Track and Cross Country Coach, Aaron Iaun, has made her endurance skyrocket.
"My endurance has been improving and I am stronger than before," said Russell. "My main strength as a runner is that I enjoy all aspects of running, including tough training and racing, which helps me improve and want to win."
While being determined and driven, Russell is still a true team-player and likes to do things with the team as well as practicing with a group of women with a strong work ethic.
"I like the team atmosphere, the feeling when you are standing on the line and you know you are about to run. And also, when you are on the floor after the run, knowing you did your best," Russell concludes.
The cross country team will be heading over to Louisville Classic next week. Russell and the team look forward to giving their very best from start to finish in their 5K race on Saturday, September 30th.