Bellarmine’s Rising Runner: Alison Whalen

“Winning that race felt truly amazing, and I felt that my summer training had paid off,” said junior Alison Whalen after dominating her five kilometer race in Lower Woodland on Sept. 17.

Placing first, this was one of many wins that Whalen hoped to obtain throughout her racing season.

While almost 30 female athletes showed up to run this year for Bellarmine’s cross country team, Whalen stands out as a leading varsity runner. Whalen officially broke the 19 minute mark for a five kilometer race, running an incredible 18:53. In standard measurements, she ran a little over three miles while averaging six minutes per mile. This personal record places her as a top female runner in Washington. 

Despite her current success, Whalen emphasized that it has not always been easy. “I have had to miss fun events that my other friends get to attend. I average 40 miles a week, so it can be very tiring both physically and mentally.”

When asked what keeps her motivated, Whalen drew attention to the rest of her team when she admitted, “The Bellarmine team has become a place of belonging for me. I have made some of my closest friends running.” 

Alison similarly highlighted self -improvement over victory when she stated that her goal is not to win, but to improve. Her own self-improvement is the key to motivating herself.

Whalen’s talent has opened doors for a future she never thought of: running in college. “I never seriously considered running in college, but the more I run this year, and run well, the more it seems like a real possibility,” said Whalen after some thought. 

With her skill and self-discipline, Whalen could be on the fast track to racing in college. She plans to achieve this goal, with her upcoming state race on November 12.

Alison Whalen enters the final stretch of her race in Seattle. (Photo courtesy of Philip Yearian)