“We can withstand so much more than we think is possible.”
Sarah Carroll: Tatnall School Senior, Track & Field Mid-Distance Runner
The Tatnall School’s Sarah Carroll missed out on her very last season running with the Hornets. Despite not being able to practice with her team or compete at any sanctioned meets, she chose to follow her prescribed training plan and continue to race time trials in isolation. Her hard work through these unprecedented times paid off, as she broke her personal bests at both the 3200m and Mile distances while running solo time trials. Just last week, Sarah ran a 10 second lifetime best as she broke the six-minute mile barrier for the first time, clocking in at 5:52.3
Below, hear what Sarah has to say about her experience with training through quarantine.
How have you remained motivated throughout the COVID-19 pandemic?
Motivation comes from wanting to be able to contribute as much as I can to my team for as long as I can contribute. Even if I can’t race for my team anymore, I can still work hard now and treat this time as the normal track season and continue to make progress so that I can step in if someone needs a running buddy or something of that nature. And if I can continue to make progress and can use that to convince other teammates that training right now is worthwhile, then I can help the team get stronger.
What would be your advice to any other seniors that may be struggling to cope with the loss of a season?
My only advice is to remember why you started your sport and why you kept at it when things got hard. Remember all of the hard work that got you to where you are now. To quit now would be to disrespect all of that. You didn’t get this far to only get this far. Your sport will be back, and you will be ready.
Has this provided you with any newfound appreciation and or perspective?
I definitely have a new perspective on team mentality now. Everything is easier when you have your teammates there in person and everyone is hyping each other up, which is something I didn’t really think much of before the pandemic.
In a few years from now, how do you think you will look back on this pandemic?
I honestly think that I will feel a huge sense of loss, looking back. Grieving the loss of our senior spring can be paired with the knowledge that we learned and grew through this, though. And there are people losing so much more than just the experience of senior traditions, so we have to keep in mind that while we mourn our own loss, there are others mourning much more important things.
How has training been affected?
There is something about having your team and coaches with you to cheer you on and observe your progress and mistakes that just can’t be replaced. Without the coaches present, there’s nobody to step in and tell you what they saw and help you correct your mistakes when you mess up. I have it a little easier as a runner because I can practice the same skills as I would be using in competition when I’m alone, but in such a mental sport, teammates make all the difference. Running a PR without the setting and atmosphere of a race and the competition is also much more difficult.
What is your biggest takeaway from living through this historic event?
I don’t know what my takeaway will be in a month or a year or beyond. My current takeaway is that people are resilient. We can withstand so much more than we think is possible, even when we don’t want to. Also, bread is way easier to make than I thought.
Have you learned any new skills during quarantine?
Sarah will be attending Penn State University next year where she will pursue a degree in .
Good luck, Sarah!