When you think of Riverside’s most successful athletes, who pops into your head? If it’s a burly football player, tall, powerful volleyball player or soccer star, think again. A five-foot-five, 15-year-old belongs at the top of your list.
With 5 school records, and 2 city-county championship cups, sophomore Elizabeth Healy is one of Riverside’s most successful athletes.
“The biggest key to success for me has been consistency,” Healy said. “Training throughout the summers and just never stopping.”
Whether it’s 30 degrees outside or 105, if there is rain, snow, or drought, you will always be able to see a blur of blonde braids and pink Brooks fly by.
There is no slowing down Elizabeth Healy.
Unlike her friends who went sightseeing and relaxing at the beach, Healy spent her summer running, whether she was in Durham, Alabama, or Iceland.
Healy admits that staying consistent isn’t always easy, but that doesn’t make it any less necessary. With her mom as her coach, she has constant reminders and motivation to help her stay on top of her runs and workouts.
“Especially in the summers when we are traveling it would be hard for me to stay consistent without the support of my family,” she said.
Healy’s mom is not the only member in her family that has had an impact on her running career.
“My biggest inspiration is my older brother, Taylor,” she said. He encouraged her to start running and has been one of her biggest supporters since the beginning.
For Healy, family doesn’t stop with just her siblings. The whole cross country team and coaching staff stand by her side, cheering her on at every race.
“Elizabeth has that internal drive and power that we look for in a runner, which makes it so easy to support her,” said her coach, Shaun Thompson.
Even though Healy feels ecstatic crossing the finish line in first, nothing puts a smile on her face like her team.
“My favorite moments are whenever we go out to dinner as a team after practice,” she said.
Healy is thrilled for this year’s season and can’t wait to watch the team improve in the coming years.
“I’m really looking forward to watching our team grow,” she said. “We have a lot of opportunities for growth and to place higher in the state. I’m excited to see Riverside’s running program develop.”
Of course, besides the team, the best part of Riverside’s cross country program is race day. When the time comes, Healy has already gone through her whole pre-race routine and is completely prepared to run her heart out.
“The night before I always eat pasta,” she said. “Any type works, just nothing with too much dairy.”
When she wakes up the next morning there are a few more steps in order to be ready for her race.
“Doing my hair gets me most into the race mode,” Healy said. “I do two pigtails and then braid the pigtails with a ribbon in each one. One purple and one white.”
Lastly, a key component to her pre-run routine are the warm up drills. High Knees, karaoke, open the gates – the stranger the name, the more essential they are to Healy’s success.
“My key racing strategy right now is ‘you can’t win in the first mile, but you can lose in the first mile,'” she said.
That’s not the only strategy she uses while racing, though.
“The thing that is always running through my head while I race is ‘you gotta want it’,” Healy said.
Clearly, she did want it.
“As soon as I turned into the home stretch, I saw the clock and I knew I was pretty close so I finished hard,” she said. “I was pretty excited but the finish line was just all these girls throwing up so…”
Healy did finish strong and ran about a 6:15 pace, making a new personal record of 18:47.
She wants others to know that there’s nothing magical about her consistency, support and routines; anyone can be successful.
“I think people should just know if you work hard for something it can come true,” Healy said.