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Buffalo Seminary's Murphy goes the distance

by Matthew Ondesko: Managing Editor

Geoff Schneider: Sports Union

It’s a crisp, fall, late October day. It’s a typical day in Western New York. A few days earlier, it felt more like summer with temps in the 70’s then a late October autumn.

Buffalo Seminary’s Fiona Murphy is preparing for another race day for the cross country team. She is used to running in all types of weather during the fall season. One day it could be hot and humid, and the next, raining and cold.

It’s all in a days work for Murphy, who is one of the best runners in the Western New York area.

“I have literally run in every weather possible and I have to say that rain is worse than snow. When the weather is bad I kind of just have to make myself go outside,” stated Murphy. “I don’t let myself workout inside unless it’s dangerous to be outside, or there’s some other reason why I just can’t go out.”

Murphy actually wasn’t a big runner until she got to eighth grade. Sure she did some 5k’s here and there, and the Turkey Trot. But, it wasn’t until the pandemic, that’s when Murphy really started to get into running seriously.

With quarantine keeping everyone inside in the early beginning, Murphy used running as a way to get out of the house, and the rest is history.

“Actually I wasn’t much of a runner until the end of eighth grade, when covid started. I mean I did a bunch of 5ks when I was younger , and I did the Turkey Trot every year since I was 7-years old,” stated Murphy. “I really just started running as a way to get out of the house during Quarantine and something to do with my mom. I almost joined soccer my freshman year, but a friend of mine told me that the cross country team went to Disney the year before I came and I was sold. Now I just love it.”

Now, Murphy is one of the best runners in WNY. She has been constantly at the top during her races in the Monsignor Martin. She has also had strong finishes at McQuaid (8th out of 365 runners) and fourth at the Dash in the Dark Invite.

All this while dealing with a small injury. Murphy has yet to be 100 percent all season long, but she does’t use it as an excuse. She just manages her practices and races differently than she might have done in the past.

“Honestly this season has been a whirlwind. I’ve had a great time with it. I have a new coach and I’ve improved so much since last year. It’s actually incredible. I’ve been dealing with a small injury for most of the season so I feel like I’ve barely done anything. It’s been hard, but I love a good challenge,” stated Murphy. “During the season I’m usually running two races a week with only a couple of days in between, so my coach and I decide which ones to actually race and which ones to use as workouts. I can’t run my best at all of them, but I try to use them all to make me a better runner.”

Racing can be a lonely sport at times. Sure there are 100’s of runners all lined up at the starting line. But, the race itself is just you against yourself. A runner needs to be able to have a clear mind going into a race. They needs to be able to run in all different kind of elements.

Thinking too much at the start of a race could actually hurt a runners chance of finishing strong. Murphy tries to clear her mind when it comes to the races. A clear mind gives her a better chance of doing better.

“I try to get out of my head at the start of every race. I focus on the fact that I’m the only one who can determine the outcome of the race and it is completely my choice to be there. I just tell myself that I’ve done this dozens of times already and I will be done before I know it. I always have to remember that being able to run and race is such a privilege and I can’t take it for granted.”

Another thing she doesn’t take for grant it is winning. Make no doubt Murphy loves to win. What athlete doesn’t love to finish at the top of the podium. She knows it’s not an easy task to do all the time.

If she is out in front in a race it’s sometimes hard for her to push herself. When she is running against some of the best runners in the state, Murphy has to push herself a little more to compete, and get faster.

At the end of the day, Murphy doesn't know exactly what motivates her. However, she knows she is avery competitive person, who loves to run and compete.

“I really don’t know what motivates me. I just want to be the best that I can be and I’m a very competitive person. I also just love running so it’s not that hard to get out and run,” stated Murphy. “I love to win, but I never feel like I do my best in races that I win. I feel like if I’m out in front for the entire race I can’t push myself as hard as I do when I’m racing against people who are much faster than me. Like at McQuaid, Manhattan, and Alden I was running with such strong runners that it forced me to work harder and run faster.”

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